Manchester City Council boss offers cash for polling chaos

By Jessica Elgot, August 5, 2010

Manchester City Council boss Sir Howard Bernstein has relinquished £4,000 of pay over voting chaos in one of five Greater Manchester constituencies in which he was the returning officer during the general election.

The move is designed to placate hundreds of eligible voters who were barred from polling stations on May 6 and follows the publication of an internal review by the council.

Two of Manchester's 269 polling stations were forced to lock voters out after 10pm when queues became too long in the Withington constituency. The review makes a series of recommendations for improvements and notes "poor management" after some election officials failed to act quickly enough at one of the stations.

Sir Howard said: "We are absolutely clear that the fact that some voters in the Withington constituency who turned up at polling stations were denied the chance to vote is unacceptable.

"In recognition of this fact I have decided to donate the fee, associated with being acting returning officer for the parliamentary election in Withington, to the Lord Mayor's Charity." Sir Howard is still set to get £15,528 for his role in the other four constituencies.

Last updated: 11:18am, August 5 2010