London

Call for 'urgent' inquiry into London mayor and Barnet election errors

Mayoral results declared at City Hall Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mayoral results were declared after midnight

Conservatives at the Greater London Authority at City Hall have called for urgent action over "catastrophic" blunders during Thursday's polls.

Tory group leader Gareth Bacon said the errors in Barnet, north London, led to a five-hour delay in counting and voters being turned away.

Mr Bacon is seeking cross-party support in demanding action at the London Assembly's first meeting on Monday.

London Elects and Barnet Council have promised to investigate the issues.

The Tories were just short of securing an additional list member on the London Assembly and group Mr Bacon believes missing votes could have made the difference.

Calling for cross-party support for the inquiry, Mr Bacon said: "The total incompetence of London Elects and Barnet Council in their handling of this ballot has led to serious questions over the London-wide list result and caused huge delays in the counting process.

'Abysmal administrative performance'

"To have voters turned away for any reason is completely unacceptable. The votes that were unable to be cast could very well have altered the result of the London-wide list allocation.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Barnet Council said "printing errors" were to blame for people turned away from polling stations

"We are demanding a full explanation for this abysmal administrative performance."

London Elects, the independent organisation responsible for overseeing the elections, said "minor discrepancies in mayoral figures" caused the delay in mayoral results being announced after midnight.

Checks at City Hall on the Mayoral figures highlighted some small discrepancies in the numbers for each candidate, although it would not have affected the outcome.

Promising to investigate, Greater London returning officer Jeff Jacobs said: "Obviously we regret the delay - but it was absolutely right and proper to take the few additional hours in order to ensure we produced a robust set of figures."

On Thursday, Barnet Council apologised after a problem with the poll list on all 155 polling stations, which resulted in many voters being turned away. It said a "printing error" was to blame for names missing from the list.

Newly-elected London Assembly Members also signed in to their role at City Hall on Saturday as the new mayor Sadiq Khan was sworn in at Southwark Cathedral.

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