Derby City Council

Opposition Councillors scupper Banwait’s attempt to avoid anti-electoral fraud measures

6x4a5526At September’s Full Council meeting, Cllr Ruth Skelton (Lib Dem) proposed a motion to address Derby’s poor reputation over electoral fraud, following the Pickles report:


“Council resolves to write to Government to volunteer Derby as a pilot area for photo ID to be shown by all voters at polling stations at the next Local Government elections in 2018.”

Full details are in a previous article “Derby City Council Labour Group vote against measures to reduce electoral fraud”

At the time, this seemed to be a common sense move and it was expected to be voted through unanimously – except that the Labour Group, instructed by Cllr Banwait, voted against it. It was not passed. No reasons were given during the debate . One might conclude that, as the first elections at which the new measures would be piloted will be in May 2018 ( there are no local elections in Derby before then), and these will be critical for the Labour Group, and for Cllr Banwait, personally, ( he is up for re-election) that tighter rules might be considered to be a disadvantage.

Unperturbed by this outcome, Cllr Skelton contacted her fellow Opposition Leaders on the Council – Cllr Matthew Holmes ( Conservative) and Cllr Alan Graves (UKIP) and agreed that they would write direct to Sir Eric Pickles. In the letter they concluded by saying that:


Full copy of letter sent

” We agree with the Electoral Commission in their assessment of Derby as being one of the 18 areas at higher risk of electoral fraud. As councillors it is our responsibility to do whatever we can to reduce that risk. To that end we would ask that the Government does choose Derby to be a pilot area for voter photo ID at polling stations.

We would be grateful if you could make the relevant people in Government aware of the contents of this letter.”

In the Cabinet Office response to Sir Eric Pickles’ report issued on 27 December 2017, Derby was confirmed as one of the pilot cities. (NB: The report also addresses options for obtaining ID in the event that the person does not have a passport , or driving licence.)


This will no doubt provoke Cllr Banwait’s anger, after having lost the vote to change the electoral cycle, and now having these measures imposed upon him, following the intervention of the Opposition Leaders. He will begin to feel that his leadership is slipping away from him.

This is a refreshing example of where the right action has been taken in the face of nefarious politicking. This improvement in local democracy can only be good for Derby.

16 replies »

  1. I am pleased to see, councillor Banwait’s attempt at blocking, councillor Ruth Skelton’s sensible and much needed proposal, will be part of the pilot scheme. Also pleased to see the letter, but wonder why it hadn’t been sent to the Police Crime Commisioner, Labour councillor Dhindsa, who should have abstained from voting on this issue, due to a conflict of interest. Had he not voted, the mayors vote wouldn’t have counted and we wouldn’t have needed these measures.

  2. It is surprising and unbelievable that this Tory government want people to produce proof of identity before you can vote. The Liberals and Tories on Derby City Council have both said it would be a good idea.
    The Labour government in 2006 introduced “The IdentityCards Act 2006” which would have provided for the introduction of Identity Cards for people in the United Kingdom. This was widely opposed by the Tories and Liberals.
    The act of 2006 was repealed in an act brought in by the Home Secretary, Teresa May after the Tory/Lib Dem coalition came in in 2010. This act passed on 21st January 2011 was called “The Identity Documents Act 2010”.
    Why do the Tories and Liberals support the photo identity now, and imposing it on the citizens of Derby. Does this have racial overtones, or do they believe that the last Labour government was right all along?

  3. I believe that you have missed the point Russell.
    You can’t want Identity just for voting The Labour government would have solved the problem with issue of Identity Cards. to every one.
    You can’t just want them for voting and nothing else.
    Is it true you have a vendetta against the controlling Labour Group in Derby?

  4. I believe he does John. He blocks anyone who disagrees with his point of view from having a public voice on his page yet has just posted accusing a labour councillor of the same if you view the latest post on Facebook. Hypocracy at its finest. You can’t reason with him. I agree with your well made points John.

    • Stephen – not true. Always happy to have a reasoned, and respectful debate based on facts. Those few people who I have blocked didn’t present different views on the subject – they were just insistent on posting personal abuse. I have repeatedly offered the opportunity to people to provide articles which present alternative perspectives. I am not aware of having any debate with yourself – reasoned or otherwise, so I’m not clear how you arrived at your conclusion. Of course if you don’t like what I post – you don’t have to read it!

      • I am sorry Russell but that is completely untrue I was not abusive at all and seem to have been blocked for asking for a no biased view of the council’s activities. I am all for holding the council to account but if you view the articles on here and comments on your other platforms they are almost exclusively attacking the council. Anyone that suggests otherwise is attacked, ridiculed by your followers and is then eventually blocked with their comments removed so giving a one sided view to the casual viewer.This is all against the backdrop of claiming to be the Independant Derby News. Again I say I have no problem with the views made as we have free speech in this country what I have a problem is the claiming of it to be something it clearly is not and misleading the general public. So please don’t hide what Derby News is, be open and I will continue to read the posts and articles but myself an other visitors will know exactly the viewpoint they are from and can then make an educated decision when required. Thanks Steve

  5. The views expressed by followers are theirs and not mine – this is no different to what you would read on the DT FB page. The nature of those comments is some reflection of what people in the City feel….whether you agree with it or not. I’m always interested in alternative views on the issues that I’ve written about, however this rarely happens – in the main it comes back to comments about me, and what I “claim” to be with a variety of conspiracy theories all of which are completely untrue. As I say, if it bothers you, feel free to ignore my posts.

    Do you have any opinions on the subject of the ID to mitigate the risk of voting fraud?

    • Russell so why block me and not some of the others who made abusive comments? If it is independant surely you have to allow both sides to have their view. I and the others put alternative views but were all blocked. Doesn’t seem to allow much of an alternative viewpoint unless it agrees with you. So again I ask you to stop hiding behind the views of other people in the city and clearly state what your views are and to clearly state that on here and your other platforms. The conspiracy theories are bound to continue when you never answer a direct question. On the ID question you asked I agree with John and not the view put forward by yourself.

  6. I think my views are very clear – they are embodied in the articles. Who do you think I’m hiding behind? I am Independent – meaning I am not funded by anyone, and no one influences what I write…and I don’t account to anyone – can’t put it simpler than that. Why are you so bothered?

    • That is very true to all Russell and why claiming to be independant is misleading the general public if the argument is only biased one way. Just be honest or maybe write an article in support of something the council has done to show you are independant and haven’t got a single agenda. I have enjoyed the debate have a good New Year.

  7. Having read the posts of John Maltby and Steve Cooper, I can only assume, they have no interest in helping to prevent electoral fraud, I, having seen the actions of the Labour councillors behaviour, regarding the electoral fraud surrounding the Arboretum ward scandal (of which there were 4 convictions), only the Labour councillor benefited from it. Surely there should have been a re-vote, but no, the behaviour of the Labour councillors needs to be scrutinised as they cannot live by the Members Code of Conduct (from which they all sign up to upon becoming a councillor), the General principles of public life, which has 6 standard levels of conduct; Selflessness, Honesty and Integrity, Objectivity, Accountability, Openness and Leadership. In MY opinion, non of them can say they have lived up to the expected standards.

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