DEVELOPING. THIS STORY IS BEING LIVE EDITED.
By Robin Scott, Joe Cummings & Joe Dalton
Police reinforcements will be called in to accompany the ballot boxes securely out of the Rochdale after the results of the AV Referendum were shrouded in controversy earlier today.
An unusually large police presence was notable at the Rochdale count after claims from six different wards that that people were pressured into handing over signed blank postal votes.
Shah Wazir, for Milkstone and Deeplish, who recently defected from the Liberal Democrats to the Conservatives, said: “There have been issues surrounding the postal votes ever since they were introduced.
“It is really not on that some parties go and apply such pressure on constituents.
"It is sometimes also a case of party members and campaigners trying to call back favours from voters, telling them they have earned their vote in some way and then pressuring them to hand over their postal vote."