Ukip leader Paul Nuttall forced to move house over safety concerns, says party

Stoke candidate is currently under investigation by police for election fraud after admitting he listed his address as a property he had not yet moved into

Charlotte England
Saturday 11 February 2017 17:21
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Ukip says the by-election returning officer has been informed of Mr Nuttall’s house move
Ukip says the by-election returning officer has been informed of Mr Nuttall’s house move

Paul Nuttall has had to move house because of fears for his personal safety, Ukip has said.

The party leader's home address was published on social media after he was accused of election fraud over allegations he gave the wrong address when registering to stand in the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election.

Ukip's chairman Paul Oakden said there had been a series of “concerning incidents” at the Stoke property. He added that the election returning officer had been informed.

It emerged earlier this month that the house had been declared as Mr Nuttall’s address in his nomination papers for the byelection, before he was resident there. The Electoral Commission’s guidance for candidates says those standing in Westminster elections must give their current home address on their nomination papers; this cannot be just a business address. Mr Nuttall filed his papers on 31 January.

But in a series of tweets during a visit to the property on 1 February, Channel 4 News political correspondent Michael Crick published images of the empty property, without any furniture inside.

It is a crime in the UK to supply false information to the Electoral Registration Officer, and Staffordshire police have said they are investigating after receiving a report of an allegation of election fraud.

Ukip have previously stated that the party is "entirely happy that all the rules have been complied with".

Mr Oakden said: “Since the address of the house Paul Nuttall has been staying at during the Stoke-on-Trent Central campaign was published on social media there have been a series of concerning incidents at or around it.

”The most serious of these was two unknown men attempting to gain access to the house through a rear entrance.

“There has also been hate mail posted through the letter box and other intrusive behaviour including trespassing in the private garden of the premises and attempts to take pictures through windows and the letterbox.”

Ukip is hoping to take the Stoke Central seat from Labour on 23 February.

Labour has held the seat since 1950 but Ukip, who came second in the 2015 General Election by 4,000 votes, is considered a strong contender.

More than two thirds of people in the constituency voted to leave the EU in the referendum last June.

Clive Lewis, the shadow Business Secretary, said there are “swathes of the country, like in Stoke, where we are hanging on by the fingernails to keep Ukip at bay.”

The Labour Party has also launched an apparent 'attack ad' against Mr Nuttall, in another move that signifies they consider him a real threat.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted the video about Mr Nuttall with the warning: “Voters of Stoke, if you value your NHS then don’t vote for this man who wants to sell it off #CarefortheNHS.”

In the footage, MEP Mr Nuttall brands the NHS “a monolithic hangover from days gone by”.

The by-election was triggered by the resignation of Tristram Hunt, who is to become director at London's Victoria and Albert Museum.

It is being held on the same day as the Copeland by-election, sparked by the resignation of Labour's Jamie Reed.

Labour holds a much smaller majority in the Copeland seat where it beat the Conservatives by just 2,564 votes in 2015.

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