Posted by: westlancashirerecord | February 5, 2017

Tory Councillor Jailed For Election Offence

The derbytele reported on August 23, 2016, that a former Derby city Tory councillor Richard Smalley was jailed for two months after pleading guilty to an election offence. Smalley pleaded guilty to providing a false address when he was elected as a Derby city councillor for Allestree in May. He stood down 10 days after his victory. Allestree man Bill Legg said he was “only doing a mate a favour” when he let Mr Smalley use his home in Coppice End Road as a postal address.

But, weeks later, he was being interviewed by police after Mr Smalley declared that house was his home address ahead of the May 5 elections. In fact, Mr Smalley lives six miles away in Manor Road, Borrowash.

He had given his address as Coppice End Road, Allestree, when it was and remains Manor Road, Borrowash. Smalley appeared at Derby and South Derby Magistrates’ Court and the court was told a by-election for the seat could cost taxpayers around £30,000. The 49-year-old was charged with providing false information to the election returning officer under section 13d of the Representation of the People Act 1983.

Mr Legg said of Mr Smalley “He’s not a great friend, he’s someone I do a bit of business with now and again.” He said: “He’d got his house up for sale and he wanted to go for elections and he asked me if he could use my address to redirect some mail while he looked for a house in Allestree”.

Under election law, you cannot become a councillor for an authority if you live outside its boundary. Borrowash is in the borough of Erewash and not in Derby city. The court heard Smalley claimed he was living in Allestree when he stood in May’s city council  derbycity elections. Prosecution barrister Fiona Morrison told the court that Smalley had also voted in the ward under the false address.

Smalley entered the Allestree address at the election and that was accepted by the council. She said Smalley told a friend that he wanted to stand and asked if he could use his address. After the election he was interviewed by the council and admitted what he had done. Mrs Morrison told the court Smalley said it was a safe Conservative seat and whoever stood in Allestree would win.

She added “This is going to trigger a by-election and significant cost to the taxpayer.” She said estimated costs were £30,000 based on printing and staffing. Andrew Oldroyd, defence barrister for Smalley, said his client was a company director for a scrap metal firm and had been for 20 years. He said he was “under an enormous amount of financial pressure” after his wife left her job as a teacher in 2013. He said “It all got on top of him. He had a huge mortgage and was suffering from stress and anxiety”.

Mr Oldroyd said Smalley felt “seduced and flattered” when he became more involved in local politics before the election and he canvassed in the 2015 general election. At the May election night, Smalley started to feel “uneasy” and was “aware of rumours on Facebook that he had been rumbled”.

Judge Taffe said it was “an attack on the fundamental principles of the political system”. He said “This was a calculated and deliberate decision. When he decided to return to contest Allestree he knew he did not meet the legal requirement”. Smalley will be released at the half way stage of his sentence.

When the Derby Telegraph knocked on Mr Smalley’s door in Manor Road, a woman answered and confirmed she was his wife and that he lived there. It is understood that the Smalleys have lived at that address for eight or nine years. Michael Londsdale, 68, of Coppice End Road, said he “felt deceived” by what had happened, having voted for Mr Smalley on the basis that he lived in Allestree. He said “It’s really annoyed me that someone has got in under false pretenses.”

Derby City Council was asked about the issue of Mr Smalley’s address and responded that the question should be directed to police. A spokesman for the authority said the requirement to provide a current address on nomination forms is covered in law by the Local Government Act 1972.

The news about Mr Smalley follows the revelation that newly-elected city councillor for Alvaston, John Evans, had appeared before Derby County Court over potential election irregularities. The city’s electoral registration officer, Janie Berry, said the case involving Mr Evans centred on his claiming he had lived at an address in Coronation Avenue, Alvaston, at the time of the election.


Responses

  1. Does this mean you can live in two places at the same time or just one?

    • For now it means what the judge decided on its merits, and there will be some people wondering, there but for the grace of God go I?

      • Paul Nuttall in Stoke seems to have played fast and loose with this, and is there anyone in our local area who as you say are in the same boat?

      • Mr Nuttall seems to have taken criticism of his situation in his stride, and only time will tell if he and others are confirmed to be playing fast and loose over it.


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