27 voters at would-be MP's home

A WOULD-BE MP is being investigated by police after it emerged 27 people are registered to vote at his house.

And officers are also probing claims a prospective councillor has five people registered at his home who are also listed at other properties in the same town.

Both Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate Mohammed Afzal Anwar and Labour Pendle Council candidate Mohammed Tariq have insisted they have done nothing wrong.

Police launched their investigation after separate allegations were made to Pendle Council and Lancashire Constabulary by the Liberal Democrat and Labour parties in Pendle.

Mr Anwar said there was nothing untoward about the number of voters living at his terraced home which is 214 to 216 Manchester Road, Nelson, and consists of two houses knocked into one.

He said that 27 people were registered to vote at the property, but that not all were resident in this country at any one time.

Mr Anwar said no postal or proxy votes would be requested for the property.

He said that he had discussed the situation with election officials at Pendle Council.

Mr Anwar said: "There are different people who are living in different parts of the properties. There are certain people who go abroad from time to time. One or two are students who have been in Poland for example.

"And other people are going (abroad) and coming back. There will be no postal or proxy votes issued from this address."

His election agent, Coun Tony Greaves, said the property was inhabited by Mr Anwar, his father, three brothers, their respective families and "contains 24 bedrooms."

Only two people registered at the addresses, who were currently resident in Pakistan, were not entitled to vote, said Coun Greaves.

Labour party officials asked Pendle police to launch a probe amid claims that not all residents living there should be entitled to vote.

The claims followed Liberal Democrat allegations over Labour candidate Mohammed Tariq, who is standing in Whitefield ward in next month's Pendle Council elections.

He is accused of having five people registered at his Portland Street home who are also registered at other properties elsewhere in Nelson.

Pendle Labour group leader Mohammed Iqbal is Mr Tariq's election agent and said the prospective councillor had done nothing wrong.

He said: "I have looked into Lord Greaves's allegations concerning Mr Tariq. They seem to centre round two members of our candidate's family."

Police confirmed that they were investigating allegations of electoral fraud in Pendle.

Detective Inspector Derek Jones said: "We have had allegations regarding electoral fraud which are going to be investigating.

"We are in the process of collating information but we cannot discuss individual cases at this time."

Talks are planned between Pendle Council and the police on Monday.

Philip Mousdale, executive director of Pendle Council, said: "One or two specific cases are being looked into by us, together with the police.

"We work closely with the police throughout all elections and they will be coming over on Monday to talk about a number of things."

A spokesman for the Electoral Commission, an independent body set up by parliament which sets the standards for running elections, said: "We have driven progress to make the electoral process more secure and that includes guidance and training for police officers in how to sport possible fraud.

"We are looking for the introduction of individual voter registration when it comes to postal voting and we want to see that as soon as possible."

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