Lincolnshire Police have stated that 2017 General Election fraud and voter impersonation allegations were not backed up by sufficient evidence, and cases were closed with no further action.
The Lincolnite contacted the force as allegations about past Lincoln votes surfaced from the city’s former Conservative MP Karl McCartney in the Daily Mail on Saturday.
McCartney’s claims, centred around his loss in the city, blame a range of activities including “suspiciously large” voter turnout in student wards and accommodation, hunches of polling card thefts and impersonation fraud – orchestrated, he says, by the Labour activist group Momentum.
Labour’s candidate Karen Lee won the vote with the tightest majority in the county in the snap election called by then Prime Minister Theresa May on June 8, 2017, defeating the former MP Karl McCartney by 1,538 votes.
The turnout in the city was 66.75%, compared with the 2015 numbers of 63.2%.
As the country prepares to go to the polls on Thursday, December 12, in what’s expected to be one of the most divisive and unpredictable parliamentary elections in recent times, previous battle wounds and vote-rigging accusations have been brought to the fore.
Conservative candidate Karl McCartney told The Lincolnite he and a team of researchers put a list of allegations and evidence to the City of Lincoln Council and Lincolnshire Police following the result in 2017.
“Labour increased its share by 8.3%. But in two electoral wards in the city [where there is a high percentage of students] the turnout was up by 15% or more. That’s suspicious. Then, mysteriously 95% of registered students from The Junxion student accommodation (Brayford Wharf East) turned out to vote in person. No votes were cast by proxy or post.”
He indicated that students may have been voting multiple times, or that polling cards left behind at the close of term could have been used by other people.
He went on to say that he and a team of researchers found two students from The Junxion pictured on social media in Greece, on Election Day, although both were listed in polling records as having voted in person in the city.
“But this is not about students”, he added. “It’s the actions of Momentum to swing people to vote Labour.”
“It’s also about the reluctance of Lincolnshire Police to investigate, and about investigations into parties not being put on a level playing field.”
Karl took to social media this week to call on PCC Marc Jones and Lincolnshire Police to “up [their] game and remove biased inaction on various issues.”
Lincolnshire Police confirmed it did receive allegations around the 2017 election, but that there was not enough evidence to support them.
A force spokesperson told The Lincolnite they were unable to go into detail about the cases investigated.
Angela Andrews, Chief Executive of City of Lincoln Council and the Acting Returning Officer, said: “Following the 2017 general election we were contacted by Karl McCartney, one of the candidates, who made a number of allegations about electoral fraud concerning multiple voting by students.
“We took these allegations extremely seriously and immediately reported them to Lincolnshire Police.
“The police investigated the claims thoroughly and found that there was no evidence to support any of the allegations.”
The Electoral Commission data for 2017 lists just two allegations investigated in relation to the election in Lincoln. One was categorised under the ‘printing of names and addresses on an election publication’ and shows as ‘under investigation’.
The other case was listed under ‘false information’, and is classed as ‘locally resolved’.