Jack Straw Corrupt Practices 92


I was frankly astonished by commenters on the last thread who claimed not to understand that it was an offence to distribute free food and drink at an election rally. For the avoidance of further doubt, here is the law in question, from the Representation of the People Act 1983:

114.-(1) A person shall be guilty of a corrupt practice if he .

is guilty of treating.

(2) A person shall be guilty of treating if he corruptly, by

himself or by any other person, either before, during or after an

election, directly or indirectly gives or provides, or pays wholly

or in part the expense of giving or providing, any meat, drink,

entertainment or provision to or for any person-

(a) for the purpose of corruptly influencing that person or

any other person to vote or refrain from voting ; or

(b) on account of that person or any other person having

voted or refrained from voting, or being about to vote

or refrain from voting.

(3) Every elector or his proxy who corruptly accepts or takes

any such meat, drink, entertainment or provision shall also be

guilty of treating.

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1983/pdf/ukpga_19830002_en.pdf

This provision was first contained in the1832 Reform Act specifically to outlaw the practice of giving food and drink at election meetings. It has been reaffirmed in every Representation of the People Act since 1832.

This is an imprisonable criminal offence. It is not just an electoral regulation.

Tomorrow I will deliver several affidavits sworn before solicitors to Blackburn police. This is one example:

I,,,,, OF ,,,,,,, BLACKBURN DO HEREBY AFFIRM AS FOLLOWS:

THAT

1, I attended an event in Audley yesterday on Sunday 25 April 2010 at Jan’s Conference Centre in Blackburn.

2. I heard that Mohammad Sarwar MP and the ex Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir Sultan Mahmood were going to be present.

3. I can confirm that the people on the stage were Mohammed Sarwar MP, Barrister Sultan Mahmood, Jack Straw MP, the ex Mayor Salas Kiyani, Lord Adam Patel and others.

4. They all gave speeches to support and ask us to vote for Jack Straw in the MP elections.

5. We were given free food consisting of roti, meat curry, sweet rice and coke.

I CONFIRM THAT THE CONTENTS OF THIS AFFADAVIT ARE TRUE AND TO THE BEST OF MY KNOWLEDGE AND BELIEF

Affirmed this 26th day of April 2010

By the within named …… at

BLACKBURN in the County of Lancashire

Before me

M Wrendall,

Solicitor and Commissioner for Oaths

The question raised is a stark one. Are New Labour ministers above the law? I have absolutely no doubt that if I, when an independent parliamentary candidate, had provided food for several hundred electors at a rally, I would have been jailed for it.

STOP PRESS

The blog is infested by a number of commenters who are trying to argue that Jack Straw was not in breach of the law in just giving a meal. This is however precisely what the law was to outlaw. This Hansard extract on a discussion of an amendment to set a value limit is instructive – the amendment was defeated.

|| MR. WARTON said, the Amendment he now proposed to move was one which provided some kind of limit. Ho moved the insertion, at the end of the clause, of the words?” Provided always, That such meat, drink entertainment, or provisions shall exceed in value the sum of one shilling. He thought that, on the principle de minimis non curat lex, they should not legislate with regard to what a high authority had called “trivial expenditure,” and that the giving to a voter of a small quantity of meat or bread not exceeding in value 1s., should not subject persons to severe pains and penalties. Ho hoped that the hon. and learned Gentleman would accept the Amendment. The hon. and learned Gentleman had very kindly accepted other Amendments, and he hoped the hon. and learned Gentleman would continue the same conciliatory course. He understood that the regular Birmingham breakfast provided for the electors of the borough cost 1s. 6d. a head. He did not wish to be so corrupt as they 578 were in Birmingham; but he thought there could be no harm in providing refreshments which should not cost more than 1s. He knew the price of beer, and they could get tolerable beer for 8d. or 10d. a pot.

|| MR. ONSLOW And for half that price.

|| MR. WARTON said, he saw no reason why a drink of beer and a crust of bread, which cost less than 1s., should be regarded as a corrupt expenditure. He hoped the Committee would not deem it desirable to increase the expenditure of Election Petitions by trying every case in which a man had received less than 1s. worth of refreshment.

|| Amendment proposed, In line 1, page 23, at end, to add “Provided always, That such meat, drink, entertainment or provision shall exceed in value the sum of one shilling.”?”(Mr. Warton.)

|| Question proposed, “That those words be there added.”

|| SIR CHARLES W. DILKE said, he could not accept the Amendment, which would simply have the effect of legalizing an improper expenditure for drink and. treating, providing that the treating did not exceed the value of 1s. He could not think the Committee would feel inclined to accept such an Amendment.

http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1883/jun/14/parliamentary-elections-corrupt-and#S3V0280P0_18830614_HOC_159

It could not be more clear that what Jack Straw did is a criminal offence.


92 thoughts on “Jack Straw Corrupt Practices

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  • arsalan

    Those Asian who are about to vote for him in exchange for that free meal couldn’t give a shit about how illegal it is, but they maybe interested in rumours that it might be Harram.

    Asians couldn’t careless about legality.

    The elders still remember living under the British Raj. They didn’t cooperate with the imperialists due to loyalty, they did it for benefit.

    And now that they are here, it is all about benefit.

    What most Muslims don’t know is a lot of the food sold as Hallal in this country is Harram. It is cheaper to kill animals by machines than it is by hand so that is what a lot of butchers do, then they falsely label to meat as Hallal to sell it for a higher Hallal price.

    They can get around the trades description act by paying for certification. This takes liability away from the business and puts it on the certification company.

    HMC inspect at every stage, so if it is HMC it is Hallal.

    But this would also mean it is unlikely to be HMC, because inspect from slaughter to sale is expensive.

    HFA just sell certifications, they don’t inspect, allow electrocution, mechanical slaughter and even recorded blessings.

    So if it is HFA it is more than likely to be Harram.

    What you don’t understand about Asians, both Muslims and Hindus is they take food rules of religion very seriously.

    Remember the Indian mutiny of 1856?

    Those Muslims and Hindus, joined the British Army against their own people, but when they suspected that the bullets

    they used were covered with Animal fat they mutinied.

    Jack Straw they them food for votes.

    You care that it it illegal, the people doing the voting don’t.

    What I am telling you is attack his underbelly, tell them that it isn’t proven that the meat is Hallal, at least not HMC certified and inspected Hallal.

  • Craig

    Arsalan,

    Stop this stupid smokescreen. The food was halal, I am not going to spread lies about Jack Straw. That is one reason we are better than him.

    It was however an illegal act. I am not trying to influence the election, I am trying to get the criminal law applied and Jack Straw put in jail.

  • eddie

    Craig you seem to be getting your knickers in a twist about this. The provision of food is irrelevant. Both the intention has to be corrupt and the intention to influence the vote has to be corrupt and neither you nor any other person could possibly prove that. You are wasting your time. How on earth would you ever prove that someone has voted a certain way because they had a little curry and rice? Apart from anything else it is very patronising, and dare I say it racist, on your part to imagine that anyone would change or maintain their voting intentions on account of such a slender inducement.

    P.S. David Halpin IS a well known loon.

  • Strategist

    The affadavit is pure genius, Craig. You’ve got the “Minister of Justice” bang to rights and no mistake.

    Unless the deeply suspicious Abe Rene is actually a Crown Court judge, I think we can all safely disregard his desperate efforts to defend the Straw man.

    Now: “I have just returned from handing in affidavits to he police. I have met and interviewed many of the people involved.”

    Was a camera on hand to record these historic events and can we relish the moment via a blog post?

    One clever thing about the situaton you have created here is, that if the Chief Constable doesn’t act, he’s not going to look too good in front of the Independent Police Complaints Commission. So I can see the chief of police doing the right thing here and asking the Minister of Justice to drop by the cop shop to make a statement.

  • amk

    “Both the intention has to be corrupt and the intention to influence the vote has to be corrupt”

    The purpose of free food is to get people to the meeting. The purpose of getting people to the meeting is to get them to vote for Straw. Therefore the purpose of the food is to get people to vote for Straw.

    Why else give food away?

  • arsalan

    Those guys give their votes to the highest bidder. If the highest bid is some rice, a bit and a piece of chicken, then they’ll offer their vote for it.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    Your definition of a ‘loon’ is consistent with your works Angrysober, maybe instead of ‘loon’ you really mean ‘fruitcake,’ a word that has propagated the ‘webasphere’ wrapped in a veneer of your ‘red cross’ glib.

    I won’t expand further, only to say that ‘running with the hounds AND the fox’ never ever produces a clear understanding of ‘holistic’ or indeed the quality of life as it should be.

    Read Jack straw’s letter to Blair dated 25th March 2002 about a year before Iraq was smashed and realise why I dig hard into the catastrophic events that fragmented honour and trust that a growing number of ‘fruitcakes’ are trying to rewrite by bringing to justice those ‘dark actors’ that spoil and abuse the sanctity of life and think they can reinforce their stature by treats, bribes, rip-offs and dodgy arms deals.

  • Clark

    Eddie,

    YOU are well known to be a loon; I remember you proposing that Noam Chomsky was responsible for as many deaths as Pol Pot.

  • Clark

    Eddie,

    additionally, I remember your assertion that the Iraq Body Count figure be used as a maximum, when Iraq Body Count themselves explicitly state that it is less than the minimum.

  • kathz

    I certainly remember that, back in my days of political involvement in the 1970s, it was routine for committee rooms to ask party workers who were also voters to pay for tea, biscuits, etc. during election campaigns so that there could be no accusation of treating. I don’t know if that still happens.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    @ Tom Welsh – ” But how can you prove it objectively? Only by finding people who were treated and who will testify that, in return for the food and drink, Mr Straw personally asked them to vote or not vote in a particular way.”

    Answer: Straw certainly did not invite 700 of the constituents to dinner just to have some Indian nosh. So, I guess if you play his after dinner speech, he must have somewhere in it said ” vote for me” – so there – now you have his intention.

  • glenn

    Courtenay Barnett: Are you seriously suggesting that, 10 days before a general election, the most decent, principled and Right-Honourable Mr. Straw threw this event with even the vaguest thought that it might be skewed by malicious scandal-merchants as lending a political advantage?

    The very notion! Our _very_ dear Mr. Straw is not as cynical as us. No – he wished only to give honest thanks to the party faithful, and had been assured in advance by each and every attendee, that none would be even momentarily predisposed in their vote by this coincidental (but quite agreeable!) nosh-up.

    Our _deeply_ principled Mr. Straw would run a mile before even hearing of any event taking place. So clearly nothing of the kind could have possibly happened.

    After all, Straw is from the same school of honesty as Blair, who made the assurance – of course he wasn’t lying us into a war. That would have required his lying to parliament, and since that (of course!) could never have happened, is thus proven to have been entirely honest. Ipse dixit.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    Right Honourable member from “Glenn” – spoke and Honurable Speaker, if I may…most grateful.

    Honourable member stated:-

    “After all, Straw is from the same school of honesty as Blair, who made the assurance – of course he wasn’t lying us into a war.”

    I offer this Honourable Blogging House my deepest and most sincere apology.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    As Sir Cliff Richard might’ve sung:

    “Hello eddie, goodbye Larry,

    Hello Abe, goodbye St Louis”

    Mister Straw believes with every fibre of his being…

    That believing in nothing is as good as a hot meal.

  • mary

    Pity the poor man Baha Mousa when you see this horrific image. The UK army thought of Iraqis as ‘scum’.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/apr/27/baha-mousa-inquiry-soldiers

    Baha Mousa was just one amongst many hundreds of thousands of human beings in Iraq who were tortured, maimed and killed. The same is happening in Afghanistan.

    Nota bene ‘Insert’ Eddie. This is what Straw and your other neocon NuLabour masters have been complicit in.

    And btw David Halpin has more humanity in his little finger than you have in your whole being. Cut the ad hominem attacks and try finding out some truths.

    PS The criminal Straw is on the box at the moment appearing in Oldham with Brown and Woolas in one of NuLabour’s pathetic last ditch attempts to hang on to power. This is taking place as the international financial collapse continues apace.

  • felonious

    Thank you for bringing this to light Craig.

    I believe your action against Straw would have more force if you attempted to highlight any other examples of ‘treating’ during this campaign as well.

  • Jives

    Currying favour…

    Or treating..

    Or bribing?

    Is there a difference?

    No such thing as a free lunch..

    Best of luck Craig.

  • Jives

    @ eddie

    “The provision of food is irrelevant.”

    Who is paying for it?

    Is it on,ahem,expenses?

  • micky

    Writerman: You wrote:

    “…provided free food, for the purpose of corruptly influencing the election…”

    You could simply have written:

    “…provided free food, for the purpose of influencing the election…”

    because that is, by the law’s own definition, corrupt.

    No need for tautology here!

  • angrysoba

    Mary makes this statement:

    “And btw David Halpin has more humanity in his little finger than you have in your whole being.”

    Followed by this statement:

    “Cut the ad hominem attacks”

    Anyone spot the irony?

  • writerman

    Micky,

    But the law against treating doesn’t, according to the version provided by Craig, say that providing food, in itself, under any, or all circumstances, is illegal.

    The wording of the law specifically mentions the words for corrupt purposes, that is trying to influence the result in some way, using food a a form of bribe.

    The point is, surely, that proving, in a court of law, that Straw intended purposely to corruptly influence the election outcome in Blackburn… using food, a meal, as a form of bribe, is going to be virtually impossible. Whether or not I personally think he was treating anyone is irrelevant.

  • Abe Rene

    Glenn/Craig

    If a substantial proportion of people invited to this ‘Muslim friends of Labour’ rally weren’t Nulab voters, but were being bribed by a banquet into voting Nulab, by all means get their affidavits and report the matter to the police. But ‘friends of Labour’ certainly sounds like Nulab voters to me.

    The question still remains: how come the Lib Dems in Blackburn aren’t so concerned? Perhaps because they share my opinion, that Jack Straw might be guilty of all kinds of things, but provable bribery of electors to vote for him is not one of them!

  • amk

    “The question still remains: how come the Lib Dems in Blackburn aren’t so concerned?”

    They could see a legal challenge as bad PR, allowing them to be presented as sore losers.

  • Jeremy

    Jack Straw is a slimy scumbag, and always has been since he knew it would put gold pieces in his pocket.

    It just shows how bad things are that people still vote for total charlatans like him.

    But they do.

    And long ago Jack Straw learnt that he could profit from being a total asswipe cunt.

    That’s why he does it. And that’s why the rest of them do it!

  • steve

    Abe

    You really are an idiot how many times do you have to be told the offence has nothing to do with bribery the offence is providing food and drinks at election rallies the matter in law is very very very plain stop trying to wriggle for him it matters not a jot that they were friends of nulab they are local people with local votes that were treated to a meal. Bribery is a different law that needs different points to prove. Straw is guilty as sin on this one unfortunately he is untouchable. For all the things wrong with the Met police I am sure if he had done it in London the anti terrorism branch that used to be Special Branch would investigate the complaint.

  • steve

    Councillor Joe Llywelyn Griffith Blakesley

    [1][email address]

    Our ref: 1577

    Dear Councillor Blakesley

    FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 REQUEST

    Thank you for your Freedom of Information Act request which was received

    on 23 December 2009. In that request you asked for information about

    electoral offences.

    Section 1 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 creates a statutory right

    of access to information held by public authorities i.e. the Crown

    Prosecution Service. This right is to be informed whether the information

    requested is held by the public authority or not, and if the information

    exists, for it to be communicated. A public authority must reply to such a

    request promptly and in any event, not later than twenty working days

    after receipt.

    The individual’s right to information is not unqualified and subject to a

    number of exceptions and exemptions that are contained within the Act. The

    majority of these exemptions are qualified, that is to say the decision

    whether to confirm or deny the information’s existence or to disclose the

    requested material, will be subject to a public interest.

    The Freedom of Information Act is a public disclosure regime, not a

    private regime. Any information disclosed under it is thereafter deemed to

    be in the public domain, and therefore freely available to the general

    public.

    The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) does not issue guidance to police

    forces in relation to who constitutes a “victim” in the context of

    allegations of election offences. The Director of Public Prosecutions (

    DPP) or his nominated representative has, by virtue of Section 181 of the

    Representation of the People Act 1983 ( the “RPA”), a statutory duty,

    where information has been given to him that any offence under that Act

    have been committed, to make such inquires and instigate such proceedings

    as appears to him to be required. The DPP as head of the CPS exercises

    this duty through the CPS. The consent of the Returning Officer in the

    relevant local government area or Parliamentary constituency is not

    required before proceedings under the RPA are instituted. Whilst

    responsibility for such proceedings rests with the CPS, the duty to

    investigate allegations of breaches of electoral law, as with any criminal

    offence, rests with the police. The Electoral Commission issues guidance

    on the prevention and detection of electoral malpractice annually to the

    police.

    If you are unhappy with the decisions made in relation to your request

    from the Crown Prosecution Service you may ask for an internal review

    within two calendar months of the date of this letter. If you wish to

    request an internal review, please contact the Freedom of Information Unit

    (Appeals), 50 Ludgate Hill, London, EC4M 7EX.

    If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have

    the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a

    decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

    Information Commissioner’s Office

    Wycliffe House

    Water Lane

    Wilmslow

    Cheshire

    SK9 5AF

  • Abe Rene

    Steve

    Verbal abuse will get you nowhere. The fact that other parties haven’t done anything about Straw suggests that the law is not as plain as you make it out to be. What’s more, the most dogmatic comments about “the law” (or ad hominem remarks directed at myself) seem to come from people who are not qualified lawyers. Perhaps an instance of people shouting the more loudly the less qualified they are in a particular field, just like religious fundamentalists.

    Actually this dogmatic behaviour is beginning to make me wonder: maybe the Tories are not so bad, even if Nulab deserve to be sent off the field for a season. Maybe I should switch from the LibDems to the Tories if the latter are better for economic progress..

  • Tom (iow)

    If the police will not do anything then anyone can bring a private prosecution.

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