Political

Police investigate Tory MP over claims he secretly aided Ukip campaign

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The Guardian reports this bizarre story from Southampton Itchen:

Hampshire constabulary are looking into claims that Royston Smith, the new Conservative MP for Southampton Itchen, handed the constituencyโ€™s Ukip candidate intelligence and a specially designed leaflet to help him target potential Labour/Ukip swing voters.

Former Ukip candidate Kim Rose claims that two months before polling day Smith handed him an envelope marked confidential containing about 55 pages with maps, local election results broken down by area and addresses for traditional Labour voters who had indicated to Tory canvassers they were likely to support Ukip…

Smith admits to giving Rose documents and advice for his campaign, but denies giving him canvassing data. He also denies giving the Ukip candidate the anti-Labour leaflet, though the Conservative party admits that the leaflet came from somebody working in the constituencyโ€™s Conservative campaign and said they were investigating.

That denial about passing on data is central to the story as cooperation between parties is in general legal (if potentially embarrassing). But passing on to one party personal data about voters given to another party runs into trouble with data protection law.

Kim Rose, by the way, is the Ukip candidate who was in the headlines during the election campaign for quoting from Mein Kampf, had the incident with sausage roles and was fined over a motoring incident.

UPDATE:

CONSERVATIVE Party chiefs say a Southampton MP has no case to answer against allegations he gave votersโ€™ personal details to a rival election candidate…

Mr Smith has denied both allegations, although he admitted giving him information on wards and votes at previous elections that was accessible to any candidate. [Daily Echo]

The police have decided to take no further action.

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