The use of a bed and breakfast address by Hartlepool’s UKIP candidate in the upcoming General Election has been reported to police.
Cleveland Police say they are looking into a report that has been made ‘relating to electoral malpractice’ and they are assessing whether an offence has been committed.
But UKIP candidate Phillip Broughton says he is not breaking rules and has accused whoever has made the claim police of mounting a smear campaign against him.
The move has previously led Labour’s candidate Mike Hill to say Mr Broughton has misled voters, while the Conservative nominee Carl Jackson called for an explanation from his rival.
Mr Broughton said: “I have been honest and straight forward with people of Hartlepool from the off.
“I have been renting a place to stay and I am renting an office space in Hartlepool,
I have been honest and straight forward with people of Hartlepool from the off.Phillip Broughton
“I have been here for four years, working hard, and the other candidates have just turned up in the last four weeks.
“I’m a working-class lad and I have been totally honest.
“This is a smear campaign aimed at me.”
A statement from Cleveland Police said: “Police have received a complaint relating to electoral malpractice and are currently assessing the complaint to establish if any offences have been committed.”
Mr Broughton said he has been living at the Brafferton Guest House in Stockton Road in the town for about the last month in the run up to the election on Thursday, June 8, with that address noted on his papers.
He says he owns a home in Stockton and made arrangements to stay at the B&B after the snap General Election was called by Prime Minister Theresa May.
In a statement after the address came to light, he told the Mail: “The people of Hartlepool are smart people and they know I’ve done the work on the issues and the Tory and Labour candidate have simply turned up for the election.
“The choice on June 8 is clear.
“If you vote Tory or Labour you will get a Labour MP and it will be business as usual and nothing will change.
“If you vote UKIP you will get a strong UKIP MP and I will be a strong voice for Hartlepool in parliament.”
Labour has selected Mike Hill after Iain Wright announced he would not be standing for election again. Mr Hill’s address on his nomination form is Elwick Road, Hartlepool.
The Liberal Democrat party’s candidate is Andy Hagon, who is originally from Hartlepool, but put his home address down as ‘the York Outer Constituency’.
And for the Conservatives is Carl Jackson, from Buckinghamshire.