A key member of Jeremy Corbyn’s team has categorically rejected any wrongdoing amid claims that he works as a Labour councillor in east London despite owning a home in Brighton.
Sam Tarry, who is serving as Mr Corbyn’s leadership campaign director, was elected to the local council in Barking and Dagenham three years ago. He owns a small flat in the area.
Councillors are legally required to have lived in their local area for at least 12 months prior to standing for election. But Mr Tarry also owns a house in Brighton, and neighbours at his Barking flat have told The Sunday Times the occupant is a woman, and that they have not seen Mr Tarry more than twice in the last five years.
Mr Tarry says the woman is his lodger, and that he does live at the London property.
Both he and his wife, Julia Fozard, declared on their marriage certificate that their home is the Brighton address.
Lawyers for Mr Tarry told The Sunday Times they denied the claims and that they could produce witnesses who said he lived in Barking.
Speaking outside his London flat, Mr Tarry told the Mail on Sunday: "I’ve probably been here 20 nights out of the past 30. Look, you can see my bedroom."
Mr Tarry added that the reports were politically motivated.
Mr Tarry had previously been investigated by police in 2014 over a similar allegation and was cleared.
Councillors are regularly investigated for not living in the area they represent. Last week Richard Smalley, formerly a Conservative member of Derby city council, was sentenced to two months in jail for falsely claiming to live in Derby.
Mr Tarry, 34, defended Mr Corbyn on several television stations last week after Virgin trains released CCTV footage showing he had chosen not to sit in several empty seats on a train journey to Newcastle, and instead made a film of himself purporting to having been forced to sit on the floor due to overcrowding.
Mr Tarry is an important figure in the Momentum group, which grew from the grassroots movement that was formed to drive Mr Cobyn to victory in last year’s leadership election, and is likely to do so again this time.
Mr Tarry told The Independent the allegations were 'completely untrue.'
"Those promoting this story for political reasons tried to use the same false allegations against me before, and I was completely cleared by the police," he said.
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