Breckland's election count continues

IAN CLARKE Breckland's troubled election count resumed today with staff sorting votes by hand after the fiasco surrounding an electronic trial. Just 29 out of 54 seats were declared on Friday before the count had to be abandoned after serious problems were experienced with scanners.

IAN CLARKE

Breckland's troubled election count resumed today with staff sorting votes by hand after the fiasco surrounding an electronic trial.

Just 29 out of 54 seats were declared on Friday before the count had to be abandoned after serious problems were experienced with scanners.

The papers were locked up and stored over the holiday weekend and returning officer Keith Davis decided to scrap the electronic trial and draft in extra council staff to count the votes manually.

Amid chaotic scenes this morning the count started again at Dereham and the day began with Labour agent John Cowan setting off a fire alarm at the council offices and staff had to be evacuated.

Mr Davis asked Mr Cowan to leave and when he refused police were called.

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Mr Cowan - who said he did it though “sheer frustration” - then agreed to leave and no further action was taken against him.

He said: “I have no confidence in the system. This is bye bye to democracy in Breckland.”

All the opposition parties remain angry and frustrated at the problems which have overshadowed the election.

Labour leader Robin Goreham has called for an inquest into what has gone wrong.

Mr Davis refused calls for results which were declared on Friday to be re-counted and said he had “total confidence” in the accuracy of the results.

One of the first results declared this morning saw Breckland leader William Nunn safely re-elected.

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