Intimidation and harassment at a Birmingham polling station has led the city council to promise a new venue will be used for the General Election.
It follows warnings that voters in previous elections were forced to walk through a “a cacophony of sound” as supporters of rival candidates shouted at them on their way to the ballot box.
Voters in Sparkbrook are to have a new polling station at Sparkhill Methodist Church, following complaints about the behaviour of campaigners at Conway Primary School Polling Station in recent elections.
The decision is a victory for MP Roger Godsiff (Lab Sparkbrook & Small Heath), who has warned in the House of Commons that voters are being intimidated.
He attempted to change the law to ban canvassers from campaigning near polling stations, but failed to win the support of the Government.
Under his proposals, it would be an offence to campaign within a 250-metre exclusion zone surrounding a polling station on the day of an election, with a potential fine of up to £5,000.
Speaking in a Commons debate, he said: “On election day in Birmingham, people congregate at the entrance to polling stations.
“They hand out leaflets and give out a great deal of misinformation, particularly to voters whose first language is not English.
“Over the course of the day, the numbers increase, so that by early evening there could be 50 or 60 people campaigning outside the polling station gates.”
Voters had to walk though “a cacophony of sound, through intimidation, through harassment, through misinformation,” he said.
The council’s decision means that 2,300 electors will continue to vote at Conway School but 1,949 electors will now vote at the community facility attached to Sparkhill Methodist Church in Warwick Road.
Mr Godsiff said: “There have been continual problems at Conway School on election day with massive pressures put upon electors going to vote by large numbers of people congregating at the entrance to the polling station throughout the day and there have been many complaints of pressures, threats and intimidation being inflicted upon people which the police, with the best will in the world, have been unable to deal with.”