Ukip leader Paul Nuttall may have broken electoral law by giving an incorrect address on his official nomination form for this month’s by-election in Stoke, Channel 4 News can reveal.
Mr Nuttall, who became the Ukip leader in November, is standing for the previously safe Labour seat. Its previous MP, Tristram Hunt, stood down last month to take up the Directorship of the V&A museum in London.
Channel 4 News Political Correspondent Michael Crick challenged Mr Nuttall on the issue on the streets of Stoke today. Electoral Commission rules state that a candidate’s “full home address must, by law, be included on the nomination form.”
Channel 4 News visited the address at 65 Oxford Street which Mr Nuttall had put on his nomination form but no one appeared to be living there and no furniture could be seen inside. Agents for the property said it was empty and available to let.
Challenged on the issue, Mr Nuttall said he hadn’t yet moved in but “would be soon.”
The Ukip leader said: “I’ll be in there [the property] and I’ll be there for the rest of the campaign. If I win the seat, which I expect that we will, then, I will rent a flat in the constituency.”
He said other members of his team were currently living there, before admitting he had never lived at the address himself, or even been there.
Electoral Commission rules state: “The candidate’s full home address must, by law, be included on the nomination form. You should advise candidates that business addresses are not legally permitted. If any detail of the home address is wrong or omitted, the nomination is not automatically invalid if the description of the place is such as to be commonly understood.”
A Ukip spokesman later said that Mr Nuttall was moving in today. A removal van was later seen at the property.
The by-election on 23rd February is set to be hotly contested. A Labour seat since the constituency was created in 1950, Ukip are seen to be strong challengers to Labour and their candidate Gareth Snell, after the area voted heavily to leave Europe in last year’s referendum. Almost 70 per cent voted in favour of leaving the European Union.