'No offences identified' after Humberside police and crime commissioner race hit by second fraud allegation

The police and crime commissioner (PCC) elections on the Humber have been hit with a second allegation of fraud.

Stock photo of a ballot box. Photo: JPI Media

The Conservative campaign for the race has been reported to police for allegedly continuing to distribute leaflets showing a candidate who stood down amid doubts over his career claims.

North East Lincolnshire Council and East Riding Council both reported the Tory campaign to Humberside Police over leaflets promoting councillors and Grimsby MP Lia Nici, but which also included former PCC candidate Craig Ulliot, who stood down last month.

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But the force said after consulting the Electoral Commission, no offences were identified.

Mr Ulliot stepped down as the Tory candidate last month after almost a year of campaigning, citing personal reasons.

However it came after allegations Mr Ulliot had not fully disclosed the extent of his experience with the police.

Mr Ulliot had claimed he had 12 years of experience in “frontline policing” with the Humberside force.

But it is understood he only ever served as a volunteer special constable

Labour’s candidate Keith Hunter, who has held the position since 2016, handed a file to Humberside Police that he said “sets out a case pointing to a criminal fraud having been perpetrated against the public of the Humber area.”

He said: “When I’ve looked at everything he [Mr Ulliot] said during the election campaign about himself and other things, my view was that there is sufficient [evidence] there for criminal fraud, and that’s what I’ve pulled together and presented to the police.”

Humberside Police said at the time they had “referred this matter to an independent police force for review”.

The force today confirmed they had also received the reports relating to the leaflets, but said no further action would be taken.

A spokesman said: “On Wednesday April 14, 2021, we were made aware of reports concerning allegations of fraud in connection with leaflets being distributed for the upcoming Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner elections.

“These allegations were referred to our Electoral Fraud department who consulted with the Electoral Commission.

“After these consultations, no offences have been identified and there will be no further investigation.”

However, Paul McCartan, agent for Labour’s candidate Keith Hunter, said in a statement: “It is important that the Conservative party restore some integrity to their campaign, correct the lies spread by Ulliott, and apologise to voters for distributing their misleading and illegal leaflets.

“This action taken by both councils, in referring the offence to Humberside Police is not something they would do lightly and I support any action by council officials in trying to help restore integrity and legality to the electoral process.”

The Conservative Party was contacted for comment, but previously said: “Craig Ulliott has stepped down as the Conservative candidate for the Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner election for personal reasons.”

Their new candidate is chairman of the Humberside Police and Crime Panel Jonathan Evans.

He is standing against Mr Hunter (Labour) and Bob Morgan (Liberal Democrats).