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More postal votes not sorted

  • Michael Crick
  • 15 Apr 08, 06:37 PM

crick203.jpgOn the programme last Friday I told the extraordinary story of the by-election in the Corporation of London last week - in the quaintly named ward Farringdon Within.

When the votes were counted on Wednesday night it was found that 179 people had voted, and the victorious new councilman won with a margin of 27 votes.

But then, astonishingly, on Thursday, 62 postal votes turned up late where normally they would only expect one or two postal votes to be late. Because the votes were late, they couldn’t be counted and the Corporation didn’t even know if they could have made a difference because under election law the votes can’t be opened because they’re not valid.

Sources in the Corporation suspected the postal votes had been held back by the Post Office as a result of dispute in which the Corporation was accused of not paying it’s Free Post bill. On Friday the Post Office fervently denied this to Newsnight, insisting that they never withhold people’s post.

Now the farce continues another batch of 58 postal votes turned up late on Monday and a further 11 this morning (Tuesday).

So, in all the Corporation received 131 late postal votes so far, compared with the 179 that were deemed to be valid – and remember the winning margin was just 27!

As you can imagine top lawyers are now trying to sort it all out, but it is another shining example of the breath-taking inadequacies of the postal voting system.

How do we feed the world in the future?

  • Newsnight
  • 15 Apr 08, 02:08 PM

rice_harvest203x100.jpgRising food prices, rising population, growing poverty and climate change are becoming a major problem for the world.

Newsnight is devoting tonight’s programme to examine this global crisis.

We've lined up correspondents in some of the countries feeling the strain most acutely to tell us what the situation is like on the ground.

We have films by Susan Watts – on whether we need a second green revolution – and Liz MacKean - on the £8bn of food we bin every year.

We’ll also have a panel of international experts on hand to discuss the problem.

We’d like to know what you think..

What are the solutions to these problems?

Prospects for Tuesday, 15 April

  • Newsnight
  • 15 Apr 08, 11:14 AM

Robert Morgan is today's programme producer - here's his early email to the team.

Good morning everyone,

How do we feed the World in the future?

Rising food prices, rising population, growing poverty and climate change are becoming a major problem for the world. I hope to devote the programme today to the problems and solutions on the day an international report sets out its answers.

We've lined up some correspondents in the main hotspots and Susan and Liz have done films. Do come to the meeting with ideas on the best people to get and how to do the top VT.

Playout ideas welcome.


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