Page last updated at 14:41 GMT, Tuesday, 5 October 2010 15:41 UK

Warsi urged to apologise for electoral fraud allegation

Tory Party chairman Baroness Warsi has come under fire for claiming in a magazine interview that electoral fraud in Asian communities had cost her party at least three seats in this year's general election.

Shadow Lords Leader Baroness Royall of Blaisdon said at House of Lords question time on 5 October 2010 that high public office came with responsibilities and that allegations of fraud should be reported to the police.

Labour's Lord Hughes of Woodside called on Lady Warsi, who was absent from the chamber, to come to the Lords to apologise for her comments.

Lady Warsi told the New Statesman magazine last week that there were "at least three seats where we lost, where we didn't gain the seat, based on electoral fraud".

She refused to identify the seats concerned but said the problems were "predominantly within the Asian community" and that Labour had been the beneficiary.

Justice minister Lord McNally said at question time that the government had reported no evidence of electoral fraud but that other organisations or people had made specific complaints about "a range of constituencies" which were being investigated.

Lady Royall said: "High public office including chairmanship of a party and membership of the cabinet comes with real responsibilities and if serious allegations are made about electoral fraud then there is a responsibility to report them to the police."

She added that she "regretted" the absence from the chamber of Lady Warsi.

Lord McNally said: "If anybody - anybody - has evidence of electoral fraud they should report it to the returning officer concerned and to the police. The government's attitude is that then we would expect the authorities to prosecute any offences with all thorough vigour."

Other questions focused on funding speed cameras, ministerial cars, and the range of electoral systems currently used in different parts of the UK.


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