Councils are ignoring allegations of electoral fraud for fear of offending ethnic minorities, Sir Eric Pickles has argued.
Writing in The Daily Telegraph today, Sir Eric compared the lack of action on electoral fraud to the way councils and the police ignored claims about child sex abuse across the country.
Sir Eric is heading up the biggest-ever investigation into electoral fraud after the former mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman was found guilty of corrupt and illegal practices.
In his article, he wrote: ‘In Tower Hamlets, police and council staff failed to tackle intimidation – often in foreign languages – both inside and outside polling stations.
‘Just as we have seen with child sexual exploitation in places like Rochdale and Rotherham, institutionalised political correctness can lead to the state turning a blind eye to criminal conduct. But the law must be applied equally and fairly to everyone.
‘Integration and good community relations are undermined by the failure to do so.’
Sir Eric will publish his review of electoral fraud in this country later this year, making recommendations on what could be done to tackle it.
John Penrose, minister for constitutional reform, said Sir Eric was the 'perfect man' for the job. He said: 'Most people feel British elections can be trusted to deliver whatever people have voted for. But, in a changing world, we can’t rest on our laurels. We must spot new or growing weaknesses in our election system, and fix them before they turn into a problem like Tower Hamlets.
'Sir Eric’s work will provide the facts we need to do this properly and, with his years of experience with local government, he’s the perfect man for the job.'