Security warning for demonstrations over European elections

WALTER CRONXITE on how Croydon and other London local authorities have been told to prepare for the worst: European elections in May

Jo Negrini, Croydon’s barely competent £200,000 per year council chief executive, confirmed to Monday night’s full council meeting in the Town Hall chamber that staff at Fisher’s Folly have begun work to prepare to hold elections for the European Parliament on May 23.

Some councils in London are preparing for demonstrations, perhaps rioting, in the event that the European elections go ahead.

Council officials have asked their political leaders and local councillors for their support “in ensuring that whatever transpires is carried out in a safe and professional fashion”.

In correspondence sent to local councillors, and seen by Inside Croydon, a senior local authority figure has written about the European elections that:

“… there will be people who find the prospect most unwelcome and who may seek the election process as an occasion to demonstrate their views. I will be thinking… about the safety and security of the ballot, and of those staff who will be working on the preparation, management and counting of the vote”.

Despite the outcome of the European Union referendum in June 2016, the United Kingdom Parliament at Westminster has so far failed to agree on how the nation should exit the organisation of which we have been members since 1973.

The last elections to the European Parliament were held in 2014, and to a large extent prompted what got us into the Brexit mess in the first place: of Britain’s 73 seats at Strasbourg and Brussels, five years ago 24 of them were won by the Nigel Farage-led UKIP, putting the fear of beejezus up Tory leader David Cameron (remember him?).

Gerard Batten: supposed to represent Londoners

London has eight MEPs (who knew?), four of them Labour, one Green, two Tories, and the loathsome Islamophobe Gerard Batten, now the UKIP leader.

In light of the desperate difficulties that Theresa Mayhem’s government has got itself into over Brexit, the Cabinet Office in the past week has written to the chief executives of local authorities across the country, providing them with a contingency timetable for European elections in case the United Kingdom is still an EU member, however unwillingly, after May 22.

In the document seen by Inside Croydon, elected borough councillors have been told, “All Returning Officers have been asked to put in train the necessary preparations for a poll on May 23 and a count on May 26.  We will know on April 12 definitively whether or not we are obliged to go ahead. Should that be the case, the notice of poll will be published on 15 April (the Monday of Easter week).”

The council official then helpfully provided a contingency timetable for the election process. The notice of election needs to be published on April 15, in 12 days’ time, and candidate nominations received by April 25.

The provisional European election timetable. The election will need to be declared by April 15, 12 days away

Such is the chaos brought upon the EU administration by Britain’s botched Brexit, there appears to be a real risk that some European nationals, who might have been entitled to or wished to vote in the elections, might now be denied that democratic privilege.

According to the letter, “Previously, in anticipation of European elections, the ERO [European Returning Officer] would have written to all registered citizens of other EU countries living in the area asking them to indicate whether they would participate in the election by voting in the UK or in the EU country in which they also had residency.

“In these circumstances we will be writing to those citizens assuming that they will vote in the UK unless they tell us that they have registered and intend to vote elsewhere. This is because the possibility for them to register in other EU states has, in a number of cases, already passed as the lists have closed.”

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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