Conservative arrested over proxy vote fiddle allegations

This time it’s Hampshire where the police are taking a close interest in the election tactics of Conservative Party members:

POLICE have charged a political activist with attempting to rig one of Thursday’s local elections.

John Hall, who has been campaigning for the Conservatives in Whiteley, is accused of applying for a proxy vote without the person’s permission.

The fiercely-contested Winchester City Council ward was won by the Tories at the last election by tightest of margins, beating the Liberal Democrats by just 19 votes…

Hall has been charged with false registration information, false proxy voting application and making a false instrument.

UPDATE: Liz Leffman has some further information on her website.

UPDATE 2: The Conservatives appearing to be trying to distance themselves from John Hall, so it’s worth recording that he used to be mentioned on the Meon Valley Conservatives website. A search there at the moment for his name produces zero results, but courtesy of Google’s cache (on display at the moment of writing here) we can see that he used to be listed as the contact for one of their fundraising events. Contact for a fundraiser? You’d normally call such a person “an activist”.

Screenshot of the cached web page is preserved for posterity here.

UPDATE 3: More proxy votes have now come under suspicion.

UPDATE 4: At the end of 2008, John Hall was convicted.

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8 Comments

  • There were suspicions about proxy votes in Whiteley as far back as 2003 when the Tories first took the seat off the LibDems. If your ward has an unusual number of proxy votes this story reinforces the necessity to investigate the circumstances.

  • I went through a long winded case of this four years back where a Tory Councillor cast a number, well above two, of Proxy Votes in a ward, but in different polling atations so neither the ERO nor the Presiding Officers picked up on it. I did though. The Police eventually decided to caution her rather than arrest her and she accepted the caution and then promptly told the local press she hadn’t done anything wrong – which means she hadn’t accepted the caution, so I reported her to the Police again!

    The problem is when you are dealing with people and by people, I mean, of course, Conservatives, who have no ethics and believe that the law is something they impose not something they have to obey, you are frankly wasting your time complaining.

  • Presumably this was an occasion when his personal convenience meant he could produce the leaflet 🙂

  • Unfortunately in my area it’s the police turning up at the Lib Dem candidate’s doorstep; then telling blatant and criminal lies about the candidate’s character/conduct in front of a deliverer and a friend which follows on from the death threats and violence in the streets towards our candidate (which the police won’t do anything about; even though the person who beat up our candidate had an outstanding arrest warrant!).

    The police usually make complaints when we tell them of election offences (as we have this past six months) from not having a free interview room to not considering it worthy to record as a crime. There is no such thing as democracy in this country.

    Part of thi down to the local neighbourhood gossip (/full-time liar) and neighbourhood curtain-twitcher who seemingly has nothing better to do with her time than waste police time and make persistent phone calls to the police with false allegations about our candidate…

    At this rate the candidate will end up either claiming asylum or quit politics altogether!

  • Chris Paul is equating a criminal act on the one hand with publishing possibly inaccurate information (I have no way of knowing as I am not a tax accountant) in a political leaflet. Although I deplore deliberate falsification for political ends there is no moral equivalence between that and the perversion of the electoral process. Just for the record, I have probably seen more pieces of Liberal (Democrat) literature during the past forty years than almost anyone else in the country, and the proportion of leaflets which have been mendacious or which have had a substantial intention to mislead (rather than to put a positive gloss on LibDem activities or a negative gloss on the opposition) is neglibible.

  • Ben Stoneham 29th Apr '08 - 9:48am

    Despite the attempts by the Winchester/Meon Valley Conservatives at distancing themselves from John Hall he is photographed on all their literature for the election with George Hollingbury their PPC and other activists. We have that on the record. He has been one of their principal activists in Whiteley and hopefully we won’t see him outside the polling station this year as he is normally. He lives next door to the current sitting Conservative councillor in Corriander Way and in the same road as their candidate this year. So distancing him from the Conservative machine won’t wash.

    We saw yesterday that Winchester Council appear to have withdrawn six proxy votes from the earlier list they had published. Two each held by John Hall and his wife – Sue Hall – and another two held in the name of the wife of this year’s Conservative Council candidate – Michelle Wheeler.

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