Another election candidate faces court over alleged false statements

A defeated candidate from the May 2010 general election is facing court action following claims he made false statements during the election.

The Portsmouth News reports:

Les Cummings, who stood as the city’s Justice and Anti-Corruption Party will appear at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court on Friday, charged with breaching the Representation of the People Act.

Police at Fareham Police Station charged Mr Cummings on Thursday afternoon, with having made, on April 22, before an election, for the purpose of affecting candidate Mike Hancock, false statements that he knew to be untrue.

[Update: he was convicted.]

Meanwhile, in other election law news, Nick Clegg has rejected calls from the Electoral Commission to change the rules for next May if there is a queue at a polling station at 10pm:

The elections watchdog said it was “disappointed” the government had ignored its call for legislation to prevent a repeat of angry scenes during May’s general election, when some people queuing to vote were turned away at the deadline…

Clegg told the Commons: “I’m acutely aware of the problem; I visited the polling stations several times on that day and saw the huge queues of people, many of whom who were in the end denied their democratic right to exercise a vote.

“The question then is – what do we do about it? I just so happen to think in this particular instance simply passing a law won’t deal with the problem.

“The problem was a lack of resources; the problem was poor organisation by the returning officer. That’s what we need to address – not always simply reach for the statute book,” he said. [The Guardian]

However, it is possible the House of Lords may take a different view on the matter and amend the electoral legislation that will shortly be before it.

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