Tower Hamlets Council are refusing to give information on how many EU citizens missed out on voting in the EU elections this May, the Liberal Democrats have found.
Asked in a Freedom of Information (FOIA) request how many EU citizens they managed to get registered for the EU elections, they refused to provide the information. using the excuse that the Returning Officer is not technically an employee of the council, and therefore is not subject to FOIA. A number of councils have been asked for this information, and currently only Haringey has joined Tower Hamlets in refusing.
Elaine Bagshaw, Parliamentary Spokesperson for Poplar & Limehouse said “This is the Council just being obstructive - the Returning Officer is the Chief Executive of the Council, Will Tuckley. It’s important to know how many EU citizens were disenfranchised in the European Elections earlier this year. Other Councils in London have provided the information. Tower Hamlets are hiding behind a loophole in FOIA law.”
Councillor Rabina Khan said “It is disgraceful that the Council cannot respond to a simple Freedom of Information request about something so important to the borough and to the country, especially as Mayor Biggs calls himself transparent and open.”
100,000s of EU citizens in London had to re-register at the last minute for the EU elections by filling in a UC1 form to confirm they weren't voting elsewhere. Many of them lost their vote - either not getting the form or not returning it in time - hence a) The 3 million legal case, b) The Electoral Commission complaining about national government messing it up.