Ukip councillor on trial over fraud

A Ukip councillor and former parliamentary contender will stand trial today accused of offences linked to alleged electoral fraud.

Matthew Smith, 26, the Norfolk County Council member for Gorleston St Andrews who had been selected to stand for parliament for Great Yarmouth in the next general election, is one of three men due to appear at Norwich Crown Court.

Smith, of High Street, Gorleston, has denied six counts of making a false statement in nomination papers and three of making a false instrument with intent.

The charges relate to nomination papers put forward in the Norfolk County Council elections held in the Great Yarmouth district between March and April last year.

Michael Monk, 60, of Freeman Close, Hopton, and Daniel Thistlewaite, 19, of Station Road South, Belton, also both pleaded not guilty to one charge of making a false statement in nomination papers.

After standing down as Ukip’s prospective parliamentary candidate for the ward, currently held by Tory housing and planning minister Brandon Lewis, Smith said he was innocent of any wrongdoing.

He added: “I am sad to say that I am today stepping down as UKIP’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Great Yarmouth in light of the continuing court case.

“I believe that I owe it to the people of Great Yarmouth to have a UKIP candidate, democratically selected by the local branch members in due course, who is free from such distractions and can give the people of Yarmouth the time and attention that this case is depriving me from doing to deliver a famous Ukip win in 2015.

“I have written to my local party chairman to this effect.”

Belfast Telegraph

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Matthew Smith steps down as UKIP’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Great Yarmouth

Matthew Smith

Matthew Smith

UKIP’s contender to take the Great Yarmouth constituency in the next general election has stepped down to fight electoral fraud charges.

Matthew Smith issued a statement the day he appeared at Norwich Crown Court to deny charges against him.

The Norfolk county councillor for Gorleston St Andrews division wrote: “I am sad to say that I am today stepping down as UKIP’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Great Yarmouth in light of the continuing court case.

“I will continue to fight this case knowing that I am innocent of all charges and it is a sad indictment that this case has taken such an unusually long time to progress.

“However I believe that I owe it to the people of Great Yarmouth to have a UKIP candidate, democratically selected by the local branch members in due course, who is free from such distractions and can give the people of Yarmouth the time and attention that this case is depriving me from doing to deliver a famous UKIP win in 2015.

“I have written to my local party chairman to this effect.”

Mr Smith today denied six counts of making a false statement in nomination papers.

The councillor also denied three counts of making a false instrument with intent.

The charges relate to nomination papers put forward in the Norfolk County Council elections held in the Great Yarmouth district between March and April, last year.

Smith, 26, of High Street, Gorleston, appeared alongside Michael Monk and Daniel Thistlewaite.

Monk, 60, of Freeman Close, Hopton, and Thistlewaite, 19, of Station Road South, Belton, also both pleaded not guilty to one charge of making a false statement in nomination papers.

The case was adjourned and all three have been given bail.

A trial date has been fixed for January 5, next year.

Norwich Evening News


Ukip has lost almost one in 10 county councillors who won seats in 2013

Farage. Photograph: David Cheskin/PA

Farage. Photograph: David Cheskin/PA



Farage’s party down by 12 county representatives out of 139, just a year on from May 2013 poll, Guardian research shows

Ukip has lost almost one in 10 of the county councillors who won their seats when the party made a breakthrough at last year’s local elections, research by the Guardian has found.

A year on from the May 2013 poll, the party is down by 12 county representatives out of the 139 who were elected.

The majority of new Ukip county councillors appear to have been working actively in their communities over the past 12 months, with statistics showing they have the best attendance record of any party at more than 92% of compulsory meetings. In many areas, they have fought to limit councillor allowances and perks, campaigned against HS2 and mounted protests against EU flags being flown in town halls.

However, the band of newly elected councillors also appears to have been plagued by a disproportionate number of controversies. They include Peter Lagoda in Cambridgeshire, who has pleaded guilty to benefit fraud amounting to almost £25,000; Matthew Smith in Norfolk, who was charged with electoral fraud earlier this year; and Peter Georgiou, also in Norfolk, who resigned after admitting to shoplifting from Poundstretcher

Among those who have held on to their jobs is Victoria Ayling in Lincolnshire, now a parliamentary candidate, who was filmed saying she would like to “send the lot back”. Ayling claimed she had been referring to illegal immigrants.

A number of others left the party after controversies over remarks made on social media. Eric Kitson of Worcestershire resigned after posting anti-Muslim and antisemitic messages on Facebook. Chris Pain, formerly opposition leader on Lincolnshire county council, was also criticised after his Facebook page carried a post referring to “sandal-wearing, bomb-making, camel-riding … ragheads”. He denied posting the comments and said his Facebook page was hacked. However, he was expelled from the party in a separate feud with the leadership and took four county councillors with him to form a new group – Independence from Ukip. One of those who left to join his breakaway group was Tiggs Keywood-Wainwright, whose Facebook page included a post saying: “Bottom line is we have too many muslims [sic] in this country!”

Others to have left include the Worcestershire councillor Martin Jenkins, who resigned in protest at the party’s anti-gay marriage stance, and a Somerset councillor, Nigel Pearson, who had “irreconcilable differences” with his local party. A Worcestershire councillor, Tony Baker, died after just five weeks in office and the seat was retaken in a byelection by a Conservative.

Over the year, the party has gained new councillors through defections on a district, borough and town level, with 19 coming from Labour and the Conservatives in London alone. However, its county council losses during the year are many times higher than the other parties, with overall levels of Conservative and Labour councillors remaining almost stable.

Dr Matthew Goodwin, a politics expert at Nottingham University, said this would not undermine Ukip’s support and, in fact, the controversies may add to its appeal.

“While it is tempting to think the performance of radical right councillors or members of the European parliament might impact on their support, it clearly does not,” he said.

“With the radical right, and figures like [party leader Nigel] Farage, it is as if voters are willing to give them a free pass – to use them as a vehicle through which they can express their intensely held concerns over Europe, immigration and the state of our politics while overlooking their own failings or those of individual councillors and candidates. Indeed the past two months of British politics have made one thing clear; lining up voices in the establishment to denounce or ridicule an anti-establishment revolt does not work. If anything, it simply adds to their appeal.”

Ukip’s high drop-out rate is mirrored in the European parliament, where it has lost a third of its representatives since the last election for Brussels.

However, Farage has claimed his councillors are coming under unfair scrutiny as other parties trawl through social media for misdemeanours. The party has also launched a fightback by highlighting bad behaviour by councillors from other parties, including a Lib Dem borough councillor in Sutton recently convicted of racially aggravated assault.

Countering claims it has picked candidates for this month’s district, borough and town council elections with racist views, Farage held an event showcasing the party’s supporters from ethnic minorities last week. But this was undermined this week by the resignation of young Ukip rising star Sanya-Jeet Thandi, who left on the grounds that she believes the party has descended into a terrifying “form of racist populism”.

Ukip did not respond when asked to comment on the number of councillors who have left the party.

The Guardian


UKIP Calamity In Calderdale

As the numerous UKIP nominations begin to roll in from around the country, some of the candidates names raise one or two eyebrows.

A area well known to us here at HOPE not hate is the Mixenden & Illingworth ward on Calderdale council in West Yorkshire.

In the past, we have mounted a number of very successful campaigns in that ward when it was a stronghold for the local BNP.

Fortunately, we were able to see off that threat but now we see a very different type of politician attempting to get his feet under the table in the area.

Standing in the ward is Calderdale UKIP chairman David Ginley.

Ginley is a well known politician in the area and has a colourful past which is well documented.

A former Conservative councillor, Ginley was embroiled in controversy in 1993 after appearing in court after voting twice in a council election. He was found guilty and was ordered to do 200 hours of community service plus costs. Ginley claimed that as he paid poll tax on two properties he should be entitled to two votes.

In 2003 Ginley again appeared before Calderdale magistrates and admitted two charges of forgery. He was warned by the judge that he could be jailed for the offences which arose from an unpaid plumbing bill following work carried out at one of his many rental properties. Ginley was subsequently handed a 180 hour community order plus costs.

Ginley held the Warley seat on Calderdale Council from 1998 until he lost his seat in 2004. He was again voted back on the council in 2006 and in 2007 was nominated by the Conservatives to be Mayor of Calderdale.

In 2010 he was again arrested by West Yorkshire Police this time on suspicion of electoral fraud. Ginley claimed that confusion had arose following the collection of proxy vote forms.

Two years later in 2012 he was kicked out of the local Conservative Party after accusing him of “unethical practices” after he allegedly asked someone to stand as a “Liberal” candidate undermining the election prospects of the Liberal Democrat Party candidate.

As UKIP’s standards are so low they have welcomed Ginley with open arms, we hope the good people of Mixenden & Illingworth are a little more fussy.

Hope not Hate


Case against Norfolk UKIP councillor Matthew Smith to go to crown court

Matthew Smith

The case against a Norfolk UKIP councillor and two other would-be candidates who are accused of electoral fraud has been sent to crown court.

Matthew Smith, who was elected in May and represents Gorleston St Andrew’s division on the county council, is accused of six counts of making a false statement in nomination papers and three of making a false instrument with intent.

The charges relate to nomination papers put forward in the Norfolk County Council elections held in the Great Yarmouth district between March and April last year.

Smith 26, of High Street, Gorleston, appeared at Norwich Magistrates’ Court today alongside Michael Monk and Daniel Thistlethwaite.

Monk, 60, of Freeman Close, Hopton, and Thistlethwaite, 19, of Station Road South, Belton, each face a charge of making a false statement in nomination papers.

The trio did not enter a plea.

They were given unconditional bail to return to Norwich Crown Court on April 22.

EDP24