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GOVERNMENT ACTS TO PREVENT TRAVELLERS INFLUENCING ELECTIONS

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Hansard 29 Feb: Column 456-524 ...
Hansard 29 Feb: Column 456-524

People claiming a local connection with an area where an election is pending will have to prove they were spending most of their time in the area for at least three months before the declaration of the election is signed.

The government introduced an amendment to the Representation of the People Bill to block a potential loophole under the new electoral registration system allowing homeless or transient people to claim a local connection with an area where they sought to register to vote.

Home office minister Lord Bassam said this was designed to prevent 'carpetbaggers' being able to make the required declaration. It is normally perfectly obvious, for example, when a convoy of new age travellers moves into an area and it would be apparent if they made a false declaration.

This would be a criminal offence, punishable with a fine of up to£5,000.

The Bill completed its report stage in the lords without a division. It returns for third reading next week - by which time the government will have had to agree with opposition parties an amendment detailing the arrangements for free postal delivery of mailshots by London mayoral candidates.

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