Police make arrest over election 'corrupt practice' claim in Hyndburn

·2-min read
Allegations of 'corrupt practice' have led to an arrest being made over this month's local elections in Hyndburn
Allegations of 'corrupt practice' have led to an arrest being made over this month's local elections in Hyndburn

A MAN has been arrested in relation to an allegation of "corrupt practice" in the recent local elections held in Hyndburn earlier this month.

It is alleged a signature on a Hyndburn Conservative Party candidate's nomination papers for May 5's elections was invalid.

The 39-year-old from Accringtonsince has been released under investigation while police continue their enquiries.

However a local leading Tory has dismissed the allegations.

The probe came to light in a tweet from the borough's former Labour MP Graham Jones, who stopped short of identifying the candidate in question.

It said: "Police are investigating a Hyndburn Conservative council candidate for a alleged serious offence.

"Evidence has been provided, the elections officer informed.

"Such is the serious nature, the Conservative Party should suspend the candidate.”

A Lancashire Constabulary spokesperson said: "A 39-year-old man from Accrington was arrested on suspicion of an offence, namely corrupt practice by causing or permitting to be included a false signature on a nomination paper.

"He has since been released under investigation pending further enquiries."

Last week a Hyndburn Council spokesperson said: "I can confirm Hyndburn Borough Council have been made aware of a complaint that is being investigated by the police."

She declined to comment on the latest development.

It is understood the allegation relates to the possibility a signature had been fraudulently added to a candidate's nomination form.

Cllr Marlene Haworth, leader of Hyndburn Council's Conservative group and election agent, said: "I do not believe this allegation to be true."

Inquiries by the police are continuing regarding a similar case of electoral malpractice in Rossendale.

It relates to a query over the validity of a signature on the Greensclough ward Conservative candidate Stuart Haughan's nomination papers, after a signature claiming to be the same person also appeared on the form of Green candidate Alexander Vijatov.

A Rossendale Council spokesperson said last week: "An issue was discovered by a deputy returning officer at Rossendale Council and was immediately reported to the police."

Rossendale Green Party spokesperson Cllr Julie Adshead said: "I am confident Mr Vijatov's nomination papers are ok."

Cllr David Foxcroft, leader of Rossendale Council's Conservative group, said last week: "Everything was done properly and in good faith by our team.

"There may be some family disagreement."