Electoral Commission confirms that Wirral Council used wrong legislation in candidates’ consent to nomination that was nearly 4 years out of date!
The Electoral Commission have confirmed today that Wirral Council issued all candidates in the twenty-two elections of a councillor to Wirral Council nomination papers that contained a flaw.
In a statement provided today The Electoral Commission wrote, “We will update the forms with the additional relevant extracts of the legislation to reflect the amendment the next time we revise them.
It does however remain the responsibility of each candidate that when the sign their consent to nomination form that they meet the legislative requirements for standing for election.”
All candidates in the twenty-two elections of a councillor to Wirral Council sign a dated and witnessed statement in the candidates’ consent to nomination (about three dozen of these have already been published on this blog) that states, “I declare that to the best of my knowledge and belief I am not disqualified from being elected by reason of any disqualification set out in, or decision made under, section 80 of the Local Government Act 1972 or section 34 of the Localism Act 2011 (copies of which are printed overleaf), and I do not hold a politically restricted post, within the meaning of Part 1 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989, under a local authority, within the meaning of that Part.”
Legislation requires a candidate’s consent to nomination to include these three pieces of legislation.
In 2015 as part of the Coalition government’s “cutting the red tape” Deregulation Act 2015 from the 26th May 2015 section 80(2)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972 was changed to remove the words “, joint waste authority”.
Whereas at the moment Wirral Council collects the waste and Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority disposes of it, the concept of joint waste authorities was created in 2009 to combine both functions with £1.3 million of government funding. However no joint waste authorities were then created.
Section 80 of the Local Government Act 1972 was therefore changed to remove the words from 26th May 2015.
However Wirral Council included these words in the nomination packs for candidates.
Wirral Council appear to be advertising for a Head of Legal post.
Councillors on Wirral Council decided that the Returning Officer would be Eric Robinson. It is Eric Robinson who has ultimate accountability for how the elections are run on the Wirral and it part of his role to check the validity of nomination submitted by candidates.
However it hoped that in the future greater care will be shown in this sensitive area of elections, however as the same Returning Officer has previously decided we would not be welcome at the count (bizarrely at the same time Wirral Council advertised with us its Chief Executive decided to state his reason was that he thought we were not a bona fide media organisation) we sincerely hope that matters will improve especially with European Parliamentary Elections in a few weeks time!
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