To ask the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, how many complaints the Commission received in relation to breaches in election law after (a) during and (b) after General Election 2017; and how many of those complaints (i) related to electoral fraud or other breaches, (ii) have been resolved, (iii) have been passed to the police and (iv) have resulted in prosecutions.
20 March 2018
The Electoral Commission receives both formal and informal complaints across a range of areas of electoral law through a range of different routes. It is not, therefore, possible to provide comprehensive data in response to parts of this question. Allegations of electoral fraud relating to offences under the Representation of the People Act (RPA)1983 are matters for the police. When the Commission is made aware of allegations of electoral fraud they advise the complainant to contact the police directly, and they may also pass on details of the allegation to the relevant police force.
On 2 March 2018 the Commission published information provided by police forces about cases of electoral fraud recorded during 2017. The data shows that police forces across the UK recorded a total of 336 cases of alleged electoral fraud relating to offences under the Representation of the People Act (RPA) 1983. Police forces also recorded 69 other complaints about elections which did not relate to allegations of electoral fraud offences.
At the end of January 2018, when the data was updated by police forces, there had been one conviction following investigation by the police, and suspects in eight further cases had accepted police cautions. Police forces were awaiting prosecution advice in relation to a further seven cases, in two cases court proceedings had been initiated and one case resulted in an acquittal. Forty four cases remained under investigation by the police.