Tory calls for Yom Kip­pur elec­tion ban

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY MAR­CUS DYSCH

A CAN­DI­DATE in an elec­tion be­ing held on Yom Kip­pur has called on the gov­ern­ment to add the Jewish cal­en­dar’s holi­est day to a list of dates on which polling is banned.

The JC re­vealed a fort­night ago that Haringey Coun­cil had an­gered Jewish vot­ers by choos­ing Oc­to­ber 9 for a by­elec­tion in its Alexan­dra ward.

Con­ser­va­tive Party can­di­date David Dou­glas says he was “ap­palled” by the North Lon­don au­thor­ity’s de­ci­sion and has writ­ten to Jus­tice Min­is­ter Jack Straw to ask for a change in the law.

Christ­mas Day, Good Fri­day and week­ends are al­ready listed as dies non — days on which an elec­tion can­not be sched­uled.

Mr Dou­glas said Yom Kip­pur and other re­li­gious hol­i­days should be added to the list to “pre­vent this sort of farce hap­pen­ing again”.

Coun­cil­lor Lorna Reith, Labour’s deputy leader in Haringey, said Mr Dou­glas’s plans were “worth ex­plor­ing”.

But she added: “If you start adding in Jewish fes­ti­vals, there will be pres­sure to add oth­ers that then re­strict the demo­cratic process. In prac­tice, it could be dif­fi­cult to im­ple­ment.”

A spokes­woman for the Min­istry of Jus­tice, which is re­spon­si­ble for elec­tion leg­is­la­tion, said any law change would re­quire a lengthy par­lia­men­tary process.

The Yom Kip­pur poll will also fea­ture the first Bri­tish Na­tional Party can­di­date to stand in the bor­ough.

Builder Fred­er­ick Halsey said he was born in the 1960s when Lon­don “was very dif­fer­ent to how it is to­day” and de­scribed him­self as “a fam­ily man with four chil­dren”.

He added: “There is a lot of crime in Lon­don and, though the po­lice try very hard, they have their hands tied by po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness.”

Lynne Feather­stone, Lib­eral Demo­crat MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, said she was “hor­ri­fied” by Mr Halsey’s can­di­dacy.“Any­par­ty­whose­fun­da­men­tal mes­sage is one of hate is un­likely to strike a chord with vot­ers in Haringey,” she said.

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