Fears of election fraud have mounted after the Government controversially ruled that voters will use an all-postal ballot to elect councillors and Euro MPs in June.

The experiment to scrap the traditional ballot box system in four regions, including Yorkshire and the Humber, was announced by Elections Minister and Shipley MP Chris Leslie.

But it was met with fury from district councillors of all parties who, last year, voted to reject an all-postal vote because of the potential for corruption.

Police were called in to investigate allegations that postal votes had been misused in Bradford in the last two council elections.

And the council's then chief executive Ian Stewart, who was returning officer, took his concerns to the Electoral Commission.

Bradford Council leader Cllr Margaret Eaton said she was incensed that the Government had ridden roughshod over the council's decision and imposed an all-postal ballot on the district.

"I am angry and disappointed that Chris Leslie has totally ignored the wishes of elected members," she said.

"I am concerned about the potential for fraud unless the Government makes much better security arrangements about how it operates the system.

"I am particularly concerned about impersonation and the fact that there is no guarantee that the postal votes will be used by the people they belong to. There have been allegations of intimidation in Bradford over postal voting and other issues that have never properly being resolved."

Green group leader Cllr David Ford, said: "Postal voting will be disastrous for Bradford.

"No political party wants this and it's a case of national bullying. It is being foisted on an unwilling council and Chris Leslie knows full well the problems which have happened here."

Deputy Labour group leader Cllr Dave Green said he was also concerned about allegations of the abuse of postal votes in Bradford.

"There must be proper monitoring, proper scrutiny and good up-to-date records. The council needs to be a lot more proactive and it is especially important for people to know how to cast a postal vote," he said.

Leader of the Liberal Democrat group Cllr Jeanette Sunderland, said: "We must make sure that people use their votes. If everybody votes, the cheats don't win."

Mr Leslie, whose constituency includes Cullingworth and Denholme, said the postal voting pilot schemes in Yorkshire and the Humber, the North West, the North East and the East Midlands would encourage more people to vote.

"The turn-out in local elections has been very poor and we have to do something about it. We have to make it easier for people to express their opinions," he said.

He stressed there would be strict security arrangements, such as water marks on the voting forms.

The Government's decision means that the Bradford district will not have any traditional polling stations in council and European Parliament elections, which will be jointly held on June 10.

But people who forgot to post their vote could hand it in to specially set up delivery points on the day, said the independent Electoral Commission.

More than 300 candidates are expected to take part in the elections for Bradford Council, as all 90 seats will be vacant this year as a result of boundary changes.