Senior Tory figures are “being economical with the truth” by denying they offered election candidates jobs in exchange for not standing, a Brexit Party MEP has told Sky News.
Ben Habib claimed “it has been going on without a shadow of a doubt” in an interview withSophy Ridge On Saturday.
He said Ann Widdecombe had been “offered some sort of negotiating position with the Tory Party – from Number 10 “, but denied receiving any approaches himself.
Mr Habib also said remaining in the EU was better than Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s divorce deal that would leave Northern “bereft”, but added that “may or may not be” the Brexit Party’s position.
Scotland Yard this morning said it was assessing two allegations of electoral fraud, after Labor peer and former justice secretary Lord Falconer urged the Metropolitan Police to investigate.
He raised the allegation by Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage that he and eight other senior figures within the Brexit Partywere offered peerages.
Lord Falconer said he had “seen evidence” that Ms Widdecombe was pushed by someone in 10 Downing Street “not to stand on the basis that she be given a place in the negotiating team” in the next stage of Brexit talks.
“The law is that if somebody corruptly induces or procures another person to withdraw from being a candidate at an election, that is both a crime and a corrupt practice at an election, which can lead an election to be set aside, “he told BBC Radio 4’s Today program.
Labor’s shadow communities secretary Andrew Gwynne has called for a” full investigation “into the” serious allegations “.
Liberal Democrats leader Jo Swinson said during a campaign visit to plant trees in north London that it was “quite right” the allegations should be “looked into and investigated thoroughly” by the police. ) Mr Johnson, who is today speaking to voters in Mansfield, acknowledged that there may have been “conversations” between senior Tories and people in the Brexit Party, but flatly denied there had been any offers of peerages, saying that was “just not the way we operate “.
Asked if he was aware of any conversations about offering Brexit Party candidates seats in the House of Lords, cabinet office minister Michael Gove said:” I’m completely unaware of any of these conversations of the kind that you mentioned.
“The Conservative Party is not interested in pacts or deals or arrangements of this kind.”
Earlier this week, Mr Farage stood down over 300 Brexit Party candidates in seats already held by the Conservatives to try and not lose Mr Johnson seats by splitting the Leave vote.
The climbdownsparked fury from some Brexit Party candidates, Robert Wheal, hoping to become MP for Arundel and South Downs, raging: “All that Farage has exposed is his duplicity to so many supporters who had put their faith in him.”
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