Police called to investigate Northumberland electoral fraud allegations

Police have been called in to Northumberland county hall following UKIP claims of electrol fraud at last May's elections

Northumberland County Council offices
Northumberland County Council offices

Allegations of electoral fraud involving Northumberland councillors are being investigated by police.

UK Independence Party town councillor at Blyth Barry Elliott has made a number of allegations relating to events around the time of last May’s Northumberland County Council elections, including claims about current Labour councillors.

Northumbria Police last night confirmed the vote rigging claims are being investigated by its officers.

Labour has issued a statement hitting back at the allegations, saying the claims are “baseless, damaging and reckless allegations” and said they were taking legal advice.

Mr Elliott has made a series of allegations on social networking website Facebook about goings on at the poll. He lost out in the count for a county seat to labour council leader Grant Davey.

The UKIP man’s claims concern the alleged presence of Labour representatives in the polling station on election day, and suggestions that 31 postal votes went missing.

A police spokeswoman last night confirmed: “We are aware of the issues and are carrying out inquiries into these claims.”

A statement on behalf of the Labour party in Northumberland said: “The councillors refute these baseless, damaging and reckless allegations by representatives of UKIP in Northumberland.

“They are currently taking legal advice and will not make any further statements.”

A spokesman for the county council said: “We have had correspondence from Mr Elliott and responded to the issues he has raised.”

He added: “The council has well established and robust systems in place for managing local elections.

“Thirty-one votes were rejected on polling day because they failed the verification process - they were not unaccounted for.

“We are aware of these further allegations which the police are making enquiries into so we are unable to comment further at this stage.”

Meanwhile, police revealed their enquiries into allegations of postal vote fraud by UKIP around the Cowpen poll are ongoing following receipt of further information.

The Journal reported last April how a complaint of possible postal vote fraud had been made and was being investigated.

Mr Elliott at the time said no allegations had been made against him personally.

The police spokesman last night said: “Enquiries into the original allegations are ongoing following (receipt of) further information.These are at the very early stages.”

Mr Elliott last night said: “I will fight tooth and nail to find out what happened here because I did not commit postal fraud.”

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