Monday 19 February 2018

Sausage rolls, Jimmy White and election corruption – the most bizarre story of the UK campaign so far

Snooker player Jimmy White
Snooker player Jimmy White

Ben Riley-Smith

On the face of it the event was little different to any other on the campaign: a candidate, some light refreshments and a minor celebrity to boost attendance.

But Ukip’s Kim Rose has revealed he now faces allegations of breaking electoral rules at the tea party by bribing voters – with sausage rolls.

The “absolutely ridiculous” claim came about when Mr Rose held a gathering in Southampton Itchen, where he is standing, to boost his chances in the coming election.

Jimmy White, the veteran snooker player and friend of Mr Rose, agreed to turn up and play a few games while attendees paid £2.

"It was fantastic day. We laid on teas, coffees, sandwiches and some sausage rolls. Now I've been reported for allegations of treating,” Mr Rose told the BBC. Treating is using gifts corruptly to win votes.

"Maybe it's bit naive but all the intentions were good. It's absolutely ridiculous. I'm sure people aren't going to change their mind [over voting] for a sausage roll," he said.

Mr Rose said he has been asked to report to Romsey policy station on Monday by the Hampshire Constabulary's Economic Crime Unit.

A Hampshire Police spokesman said: "We have a received an allegation of "treating" by a prospective parliamentary candidate, contrary to the Representation of the People Act 1983. We are looking into the complaint. No arrests have been made."

The Electoral Commission said it was a police matter. Its rules state: “A person is guilty of treating if ... they directly or indirectly give or provide any food, drink, entertainment or provision to corruptly influence any voter to vote or refrain from voting. Treating requires a corrupt intent – it does not apply to ordinary hospitality."

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