Letter: Need to protect our voting rights

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The Independent Online
THE SUBJECT of your report (' 'Poll tax' effect distorts boundary review', 6 June) was always an intention of the Conservative government.

An important, but implied, purpose of the poll tax was the introduction of the qualification to voting that there should be 'no representation without taxation'.

The tax surreptitiously invited de-registration of 'refuseniks' as the only way to avoid prosecution for non-payment, while the legal fiction was maintained that the government was not interfering with voting rights because the electoral and 'community charge' registers were kept formally separate.

It was clearly thought through with care by the government; effectively to disenfranchise people without a serious democratic backlash. I am still not convinced that the government has not breached in some way the 1919 Representation of the People Act, from which we gain our suffrage rights. But if that Act allows no recourse for the 350,000-1 million people involved, it is high time that new legislation was placed on the statute book to protect our limited democratic rights.

Chris Lamb

Midsomer Norton, Bath

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