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Ex-Lib Dem Council Leader Warren Bradley Admits Perjury In Election Campaign

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Ex-Lib Dem Council Leader Warren Bradley Admits Perjury In Election Campaign
Ex-Lib Dem Council Leader Warren Bradley Admits Perjury In Election Campaign

A former Liberal Democrat council leader admitted on Friday committing perjury following a police investigation into electoral fraud allegations.

Ex-Liberal Democrat leader of Liverpool City Council Warren Bradley pleaded guilty to one count of perjury at Liverpool Magistrates' Court and was ordered by District Judge Miriam Shelvey to pay a £1,000 fine, £75 in costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

It follows a 10-month police investigation into how his son, Daniel, came to be nominated to stand in last year's local elections.

Bradley signed Daniel's nomination form to stand in the May 5 contest as a witness although his son was not present and had not yet signed the form agreeing to put himself forward as a candidate.

The 19-year-old subsequently claimed that his signature was a "fake" and that he did not want to stand.

Section 5 of the Perjury Act forbids any person from making a false statutory declaration.

The serving firefighter and councillor for Liverpool's Wavertree ward today admitted signing the consent of nomination form as a witness when his son was not present.

It also emerged today that Bradley's mother, Pam, had been cautioned by police for forging Daniel's signature.

But Bradley's lawyer, James Murray, denied that his client's teenage son had been put forward as a candidate without his knowledge and claimed that Daniel's statement to police came in the midst of an "acrimonious divorce" between Bradley and his wife, Pauline.

Simon Orme, for the prosecution, told the court that in March last year Pauline Bradley contacted an electoral officer and asked him to inspect the nomination papers as her son "knew nothing" about them.

Local newspapers the Daily Post and the Liverpool Echo subsequently ran stories on the matter and this was later followed by a police investigation.

Orme said Daniel told police "I can confirm I did not agree to be a candidate, I am not prepared to lie for anybody", as he was interested in pursuing a career in the Royal Air Force rather than politics.

James Murray, mitigating, said his client had already made a "full and frank admission" to signing the nomination form without his son being present, which he described as the "essential mischief" in the case.

But he claimed Daniel had agreed to put himself forward as a Liberal Democrat candidate and Bradley was only trying to "push things along" by "cutting corners".

Murray also claimed that Daniel had asked his grandmother Pam, a former Lib Dem councillor herself, to forge his signature on the nomination form because he was busy at work.

He said Bradley's soon-to-be ex-wife Pauline had "pressured" Daniel when she found out her son was going to be a candidate.

"What the defence feel is that Pauline Bradley threw a hissy fit about her son supporting his dad. Hell hath no fury as a woman in the midst of a divorce," he said.

"This is tragic for Bradley because he loves his son. Another reason it is a tragedy is that he lost the leadership of his party."

District Judge Shelvey said she had seen "little remorse" from Bradley, who shook his head as he was sentenced.

She said: "You have chosen to lay the blame on others rather than accept you were in the wrong or just apologise and simply say you were sorry."

The former leader of the Lib Dem group at Liverpool City Council resigned on the day the allegations emerged, as his party suspended him and launched an inquiry into the claims.

A Lib Dem spokesman confirmed that Bradley had been "permanently excluded" from the party after he broke party rules by declaring that he would seek re-election in May as an independent candidate.

Bradley's relationship with the party had been strained before the allegations.

In a leaked message to Nick Clegg before the local elections, he had urged his party leader to act before "we disappear into the annals of history".

He said Lib Dem councillors were set to lose seats in local elections on May 5 and the coalition was to blame.

He went on to write: "We have to sever ties from the coalition. If we fail to do this, we have only our parliamentarians to blame."

But in response to the comments, Clegg said: "I think Warren Bradley is one voice, but I think he is wrong."

Bradley refused to comment on whether he will be standing for re-election in the local elections next May.

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