Police make arrest over election 'corrupt practice' claim 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."