Somerton Town Council by-election candidate reported to police over campaign leaflet
A candidate in today’s Somerton Town Council by-election has been reported to police for allegedly breaking the law during his campaigning.
Police confirmed a complaint had been made against Peter Richardson for omitting an imprint from leaflets he has distributed to residents.
An imprint must, by law, be added to campaign material to show who is responsible for its production to help ensure that the campaign is transparent.
It should include the name and address for the printer and the promoter on such literature, and of any person on behalf of whom the material is being published, if this is not the promoter.
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Town clerk Rodger Calderwood said the imprint was absent from Mr Richardson’s campaign leaflets, and that he had passed the complaint to police after seeking advice from South Somerset District Council.
He said as far as he was aware other candidates had included an imprint, but he said the complaint did not ban Mr Richardson from standing in the by-election.
Mr Richardson, a former RNAS Yeovilton pilot and an online blogger on Somerton, said he did not know the imprint had to be included and he said he was not the only candidate who had omitted it.
He said: “In my case it was an oversight by myself.
“However, I paid for all of my leaflets personally, without applying for or taking expenses from the rate payer.”
Inspector Tim Coombe, of Avon and Somerset police, said: “We have been informed of a technical breach in the spec of an election leaflet.
“We have not seen the leaflet and we are not aware of the candidate or of the number of leaflets distributed.
“We are yet to be provided with these details.”
A statement from South Somerset District Council said that the authority’s returning officer had no powers to deal with this breach.
The other three candidates standing in today’s by-election alongside Mr Richardson are Billy Fletcher, Claire Lucas, and Clive Wilson.
The election was called following the resignation of councillors Michael and Helen Fraser-Hopewell.
Ten electors, the minimum required, requested an election from the district council.
The last time the town had a by-election was in November 2010 when the turnout was just over 25 per cent.
The town council opted to pay extra for every elector to receive a polling card to remind people about the vote.
The election will cost the town council around £2,600 with the district council costs yet to be finalised.
Members of the public can vote in the Wessex Rooms, in Broad Street, from 7am to 10pm.