West Norfolk councillor David Pope admits election fraud

Image source, Geograph/Mat Fascione
Image caption,
A by-election will take place on 12 December

A long-standing councillor has admitted election fraud in local elections.

David Pope, 75, needed signatures of supporters on his nomination paper for Upwell and Delph, where he stood as an Independent West Norfolk councillor.

King's Lynn magistrates heard he used an alternative signature because a man named on the paper was not at home.

He admitted one charge of permitting a false signature on an election nomination paper and was fined £3,300. The court heard he has stood down.

Pope had been on West Norfolk council for 16 years and was re-elected in May, when the fraud was committed.

The court heard candidates seeking selection needed the signatures of eight supporters who were electors in the ward.

Pope's nomination paper had apparently been signed by Derek Gooch, but Mr Gooch had said it was not his signature, the court heard.

Jonathan Eales, defending, said Mr Gooch's son offered to sign the paper because his father was not at home when Pope called round.

Rachael Taylor, prosecuting, said that when he was spoken to by police, Mr Gooch Jr told them he could not remember whether or not he had he signed the form on behalf of his father.

The error was spotted by Conservative Party agent, Ian Sherwood, the court heard.

A by-election will be held for the ward on 12 December, King's Lynn & West Norfolk Borough Council has confirmed.

Update 11 December 2019: This story has been updated to include some additional information from the prosecution about the signature.

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