Police ‘assessing’ claims the Tories committed electoral fraud in election campaign

Nigel Farage, Cressida Dick and Boris Johnson. Photograph: PA/TNE.

Nigel Farage, Cressida Dick and Boris Johnson. Photograph: PA/TNE. - Credit: Archant

The police are to 'assessing' claims from the Brexit Party that candidates were offered peerages by the Tories to get them to stand down in the election.

Nigel Farage has claimed he had repeatedly been offered a seat in the House of Lords in an attempt to persuade him to "go quietly".

He said that when that failed, people working "deep inside Number 10" had tried to bypass him, going directly to senior Brexit Party figures and suggesting eight of them could be made peers if they could persuade him to withdraw more of his candidates.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Farage claimed: "There are lots of peerages being offered. This is full-on Venezuelan style corruption. Today [Thursday] has been in industrial scale attempt to stop free and open politics happening in our country.

"Number 10 has been directly involved and many thousands of activists all over the country [phoning] in a concerted way. Some of the phone calls are nice, some are less than nice."

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It has prompted Labour peer and former lord chancellor Lord Falconer to call for the Met Police to investigate the claims.

He claimed the Conservatives may be going "beyond electoral law" to win the election.

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He added: "From my point of view, it looks like what is happening is the Conservatives might well be going beyond electoral law to win this election by persuading Brexit UK candidates not to stand.

MORE: Ann Widdecombe claims No.10 offered her a Brexit negotiation role to stand down

"I'm really keen that it be investigated, first to ensure that if it's happened, it's revealed, but also so that the people of the Conservatives know that they are being properly supervised by the DPP and the police."

On whether allegations are often used by political opponents to damage their enemies, Lord Falconer admitted: "Yes, it sometimes is, but my concern is is the electoral process being corrupted here.

"The crime, or the illegal practice, is offering an inducement not to stand, not, as you say, simply persuading people at reference to their better judgement, but by inducement.

"If you look at that film of Ann Widdecombe, if you look at that film of Nigel Farage, they are specifically saying that corrupt inducements were offered. If we want our processes to be free from corruption, then that should be investigated immediately."

MORE: Michael Gove refuses to deny Brexit Party allegations of peerages for votes

Scotland Yard confirmed it is now assessing the claims to work out if the Tories were guilty of electoral fraud and malpractice.

The Metropolitan Police said: "The MPS has received two allegations of electoral fraud and malpractice in relation to the 2019 General Election.

"The MPS special enquiry team is responsible for investigating all such criminal allegations. Both allegations are currently being assessed.

"The MPS will not be providing comment about individual cases."

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