Norfolk

Norfolk election: Police investigate 'malpractice' allegation

Police have been called in to investigate allegations that signatures were forged on a nomination paper for next week's local elections.

The inquiry relates to forms for Jonathon Childs, a UKIP candidate in the Norfolk County Council elections.

A Norfolk Police spokesman said: "We can confirm that we have received a complaint of electoral malpractice, which we are investigating."

Mr Childs said he would co-operate with any police inquiries.

It is alleged one or more signatures on his nomination paper were forged.

'Own free will'

Under election rules, candidates have to sign the form, along with 10 people who support the nomination.

Linda Mockford, assistant returning officer, said she received a complaint about an alleged irregularity on a nomination paper and had referred the matter to the police.

"The nominations have been declared valid and the election will proceed. Anything will be dealt with after the election," she said.

Image caption UKIP agent Matthew Smith said he did not believe there had been any wrong-doing

Mr Childs, UKIP candidate for East Flegg, near Yarmouth, said: "I was made aware of someone's name on the nomination form who hadn't signed it.

"I went of my own free will to make Great Yarmouth Borough Council (GYBC) aware of this and then found out that my signature had been forged, too. The council thanked me for making them aware of this.

"If a crime has been committed I would like the full weight of the judicial system levied against the perpetrator.

"I am sure GYBC will conduct their duties in a diligent way and I have 100% trust in their protocol and systems in place."

Matthew Smith, who is agent for UKIP candidates in the Great Yarmouth area and is also standing for election himself, said he was "absolutely certain" the paperwork had been filled out correctly.

"I can say that there's been no wrongdoing on our part and I don't believe that there has been any wrongdoing at all," he said.

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