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Ukip's David Hodgson Left Off Darlington General Election Ballot Papers And Demands Answers

07/05/2015 17:05 BST | Updated 07/05/2015 17:59 BST

Elections are proceeding as normal in Darlington, despite almost 90 ballot papers being delivered that missed off the local Ukip candidate, David Hodgson, who says the local council now has "serious questions to answer".

Darlington Borough Council said the error had only affected a small proportion of voters at one polling station and the problem had been rectified.

In a statement the council said: “Approximately 89 ballot papers (0.1% of the total number of ballot papers printed) had been issued, but as soon as the issue was identified, corrected ballot papers were issued to the polling station concerned.”

Ukip's tweets about candidate David Hodgson being left off ballot papers in Darlington

The council's chief executive, Ada Burns, said it had taken advice from the Electoral Commission and were "confident that the election can go ahead as normal".

Mr Hodgson, a college lecturer, told the Northern Echo that while the error was corrected "after a number of people contacted Ukip to complain that my name was not on the ballot paper", the council still had questions to answer.

"How can this have happened? Who is going to take responsibility? And what will be done to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again and no candidate ever finds themselves removed from the ballot paper in future," he told the newspaper.

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Hodgson added: "What is particularly galling is that Darlington Council is not prepared to take responsibility nor offer an apology."

After being informed about the ballot mistake, MEP for the North East and Ukip candidate for Easington Jonathan Arnott issued a statement condemning the council.

It reads: “This kind of mistake is unacceptable in a 21st-century democracy. For even one voter to be denied the opportunity to choose between all of the candidates at a General Election is appalling."

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Arnott demanded the council confirm to the public that they had contacted every other polling station within the constituency to ensure they were "100% confident that the correct ballot papers have been used everywhere else"; that the ballot papers missing Hodgson's name were "null and void, and should not be counted" and that anyone affected could return to vote again.

He said the council's statement on the issue was insufficient, saying: "It is a simple matter of democracy. The question of how such an error could have occurred is substantial, and should be investigated further in the coming days.”

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