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EU Referendum

EU referendum vote could be overseen by ‘international monitors’

BRITAIN’S EU Referendum campaign may be overseen by international monitors because of fears over cheating.

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The EU Referendum campaign may be overseen by international monitors because of fears over cheating

It means this nation, which has just celebrated the 700th anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta, could be faced with the humiliating prospect of joining the ranks of Russia and Azerbaijan in having independent experts ensure fairness.Concerns will be raised at a meeting of the Council of Europe, a human rights organisation of 47 member nations which predates the EU, when it convenes on Monday.The call, by Tory MP Nigel Evans, was partly prompted by the Government’s decision to spend £9m of taxpayers’ money on pro-EU leaflets.

Speaking to the Sunday Express, the MP for Ribble Valley said: “The Council has great expertise in monitoring elections – in a week’s time, I will be monitoring elections in Serbia.

“There has already been criticism over the Government’s decision to spend taxpayers money to send a pro EU leaflet to 27 million homes.“On the other side, there has been criticism that leaflets have gone out purporting to be independent but which are actually from one of the campaigns.“This referendum looks like it will be a tight result one way or the other.

“I’m worried that, without proper monitoring, both sides may start to complain of problems after the results. We can’t have a situation where any one side is calling for the results to be declared null and void.

We can’t have a situation where any one side is calling for the results to be declared null and void

Tory MP Nigel Evans

“I feel monitors are needed to ensure that there is fairness on both sides.”He added: “I would have been calling for this even without the pamphlet concerns. We’ve had problems in the past with postal votes. Because of the numbers involved, that could even sway election results. We are not above scrutiny.””I hope Downing Street accepts this. Mr Cameron certainly doesn’t have any problems with judges from some of these same nations which take part in monitoring ruling over court decisions that effect the UK.

“We should lead by example.”

Alex Deane, Executive Director of Grassroots Out campaign said: “The Government decision to waste £9.3 million of taxpayer’s money on a pro-EU propaganda leaflet was a major blow to British democracy.

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The call by Tory MP Nigel Evans was partly prompted by the Government’s pro-EU leaflets

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MP Evans said he hoped Downing Street would accept the call for international monitors

“The Prime Minister promised the UK Parliament that hardworking taxpayers money would not be spent on the remain campaign.“I welcome the move by the Council of Europe to monitor the EU referendum to ensure it is conducted freely and fairly.“It is disappointing that the behaviour of the Government means that Britain joins Russia, Azerbaijan and Belarus in having international observers monitor our elections.”

Last week Chris Chope MP, until recently a council member, called on the Foreign Secretary to invite international monitors from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

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Britain could be faced with the humiliating prospect of having independent experts ensure fairness

Speaking last night, the Christchurch MP said: “Whenever an independent Electoral Commission’s advice is rejected by any Government, then the members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe should be alerted.“The Electoral Commission expressed its unhappiness about the pamphlets, but the advice it gave to the Government was rejected.“Downing Street should accept this advice and allow these monitors. We send observers to other countries. We have helped developed laws on referenda.

“We must show that we have nothing to fear.”

A Government spokesman said: “Any individual or organisation is able to apply to the Electoral Commission for accreditation to observe elections or referendums in the UK.”

http://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/661685/EU-referendum-vote-overseen-international-monitors

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