Police are investigating allegations of election fraud after Ukip’s Stoke-on-Trent by-election candidate, Paul Nuttall, listed a property he had never stepped foot in as his home address on nomination papers.
The Ukip leader has defended putting 65 Oxford Street as his address, even though he lives in Bootle, telling Channel 4 News earlier this week he “will be” living there.
Nuttall’s bid to become an MP comes after Labour’s Tristram Hunt stood down from the role to take a position at the V&A Museum in London.
Staffordshire Police said in a statement: “We have received a report of an allegation of election fraud relating to the Stoke Central by-election on Thursday 23 February 2017.
“Officers will be investigating the circumstances.”
Electoral Commission rules state that a candidate’s “full home address must, by law, be included on the nomination form”.
A Ukip spokesperson said they were “entirely happy” the rules had been complied with, adding: “If and when the police decide to talk to us we will be happy to help them.”
When challenged by Channel 4 News’ Michael Crick earlier this week about the allegations, Nuttall denied the house was empty, saying “people are in it now”.
Crick said: “The law says that when you sign the nomination form, you’re meant to put down your home at the time of the nomination.
“That wasn’t your home. Your home as far as I’m aware is Bootle or somewhere.”
Nuttall said he did live in Bootle, but when it was put to him that he had written the wrong address on his nomination form, Nuttall responded: “No I haven’t. I’ll be in there and be there for the rest of the campaign.”
Electoral Commission rules state: “If any detail of the home address is wrong or omitted, the nomination is not automatically invalid if the description of the place is such as to be commonly understood.”