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Comment

The Electoral Commission should be abolished

Alan Halsall’s extraordinary account in today’s paper of his mistreatment at the hands of the Electoral Commission should be the final nail in the coffin of this failed quango. Breathtaking in its incompetence, and seemingly swayed by pressure from Remain campaigners to harass the official Vote Leave campaign and its volunteers in the aftermath of the referendum, the Commission made Mr Halsall’s life a misery for years on the basis of spurious allegations that should never have been taken seriously.

On top of the damage – personal, reputational and financial – it wrought on the lives of perfectly innocent people, it has also damaged our democracy. The Commission’s behaviour since the EU referendum has legitimised crank conspiracy theories that the vote was somehow won by underhand means. Worse, it has called into question the integrity of our institutions. The Commission is meant to be impartial and dedicated to ensuring free and fair elections, yet it has given every impression of having failed in its duty to remain unbiased and above politics.

2020欧洲杯体育投注开户You would expect the Commission to now be furiously engaged in a programme to reform itself, to ensure that such appalling failures could never be repeated. There is little concrete sign of that. It denies bias, yet does not seem to grasp that even the perception of bias is calamitous for its ability to act as the arbiter of electoral standards in this country.

The only sensible conclusion to draw is that it is incapable of reforming itself. The Electoral Commission should therefore be abolished, replaced by a body that can command the trust of the British public.