Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein urge Electoral Office rethink on 'just' three centres for Ian Paisley recall petition

A Sinn Fein delegation has met with Electoral Office representatives to register their objections to the use of three centres for people wishing to sign the petition to recall North Antrim MP Ian Paisley

The party said that more centres should have been opened and also raised concerns around what they called "limited opening hours" at the centres.

Mr Paisley was suspended from Westminster for 30 days after failing to declare two luxury family holidays paid for by the Sri Lankan government.

He has also been suspended from the DUP pending investigation by party officers.

If 10% of voters in his constituency - approximately 7,700 - sign a petition to recall Mr Paisley, the seat will be declared vacant and a poll held. The petition period will run from this Wednesday, August 8, to September 19.

North Antrim MLA Philip McGuigan said more must be done to ensure the democratic process is not subverted.

“A delegation including myself and Sinn Féin MP Francie Molloy registered our objection to the fact that the Electoral Office has decided to only open three centres with limited opening hours for the recall petition," he said.

“This is simply not good enough."

Mr McGuigan said that his party wanted the Electoral Office to reverse their decision.

“North Antrim is a large constituency and Sinn Fein proposed that the recall petition should be available in as many as ten local government offices," the North Antrim MLA said.

“We urged the Electoral Office to rethink this decision and to provide more centres and more flexible opening times to ensure that the democratic process is not subverted.

“We also raised concerns that not all relevant information for the electorate has been adequately publicised by the Electoral Office and they have agreed to consider a further public information campaign to rectify this.”

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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