Peter Hoskin

What to make of Warsi’s electoral fraud claim?

What to make of Warsi's electoral fraud claim?
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Exactly as the headline says, really. Interviewed by Mehdi Hasan in this week's New Statesman, Sayeeda Warsi claims that the Tories "lost" at least three seats in the election because of electoral fraud. The article observes:

'This is the first time a senior minister has made such a blunt and specific allegation about the impact of electoral fraud on the general election result. Can she reveal the names of those seats? 'I think it would be wrong to start identifying them,' she says, but adds: 'It is predominantly within the Asian community. I have to look back and say we didn’t do well in those communities, but was there something over and above that we could have done? Well, actually not, if there is going to be voter fraud.'

Did Labour benefit from the alleged 'fraud'? 'Absolutely,' Warsi says, without hesitation. The peer says she has written to Clegg, who is overseeing the coalition’s reforms to the electoral system, to highlight the issue of fraud and voter disenfranchisement."

These are such serious allegations from the Tory chairman that it's difficult to avoid Kevin Maguire's conclusion that, 'If a number of MPs are sitting in the House of Commons without electoral legitimacy, we need to re-run those contests." He adds that Warsi must go public with the seats she has in mind. I'm not sure that she has to just yet – but if nothing further emerges in future, then we might rightly wonder what she meant by all this. 

Warsi has now pulled out of her Question Time appearance tonight, although it's being claimed that the decision was made a few days ago.