Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Southampton council election rivals both called Payne

Warwick Payne (left) and Josh Payne Image copyright BBC / LDRS
Image caption Warwick Payne (left) said he feared voters could be confused by the choice of Conservative candidate Josh Payne

A row has broken out after two candidates with the same surname were selected to stand against one another in May's local authority elections.

Labour's Warwick Payne said the Conservatives' selection of Josh Payne in Woolston, Southampton, "looks suspicious" and might confuse voters.

The long-standing Labour councillor said he feared voters might choose "the first Payne they see on the list".

The Conservatives said there was no intention to cause confusion.

Josh Payne said he joined the party in 2018 and asked to stand in Labour-held Woolston because it was a challenge.

"We decide who would stand where before all the candidates' names are released. I don't think this will cause confusion," he told the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

'Virtual unknown'

Dan Fitzhenry, leader of the Southampton Conservative group, said Josh Payne was the "best candidate for the ward".

"Nobody thought about the conflict of names. There was no intention to do that on purpose," he said.

Warwick Payne said there might be voters who were familiar with him but were unaware of his political affiliation.

"To use a virtual unknown that just happens to have my surname - that just looks suspicious," he said.

"It is quite possible the Tories will deny they have done it on purpose. The real question is - would anyone in Woolston truly believe that? I do not."

Also standing in the Woolston ward on 2 May are: Colin Bleach (Liberal Democrats), Clive Hillman (Green) and Derek Humber (UKIP).

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites