Former UKIP candidate for Southampton Itchen Kim Rose is claiming that newly elected Conservative Southampton Itchen MP, Royston Smith, gave him documents and a leaflet to sway Labour voters towards UKIP.
- There have been a number of tweets on Twitter about the allegations against Mr Smith, which Hampshire Constabulary are investigating.
According to the Guardian, Kim Rose claims that in March, Mr Smith gave him a confidential envelope containing detailed maps, local election results and addresses for traditional Labour voters, who told Conservative canvassers of their intentions to vote UKIP. Smith also provided Rose with a leaflet template attacking Labour’s record on immigration.
If allegations are true, aiding UKIP in gaining would-be Labour voters may have determined the outcome of the election, as Southampton Itchen is a notoriously marginal seat. Rose says he used the detailed information to direct his campaign and believes it influenced approximately 4,000 Labour voters to change their vote.
The local Conservative Party have admitted that Royston Smith was responsible for annotations written on the election result sheets that Rose claims the MP gave to him. This has been viewed by The Guardian, who have said that there is a calculation with the number 6,000 underlined on one of the documents. Rose claims this was to show how many votes UKIP could win by targeting Labour/UKIP swing voters, and later gained 6,010 votes on polling day.
The leaflet, also seen by The Guardian, states:
‘Labour let in one immigrant every minute. You can’t trust them with our borders… UKIP will bring back control of our borders and ensure British jobs for British workers. We are on the side of the British working class. We will also increase spending on the NHS.’
Rose claimed that he refused to use the leaflets, believing that it ‘looked more like the BNP’ and was ‘totally racist’. The leaflets also contained a picture of Fagin from Oliver Twist supposed to replace a picture of Rose himself, something he is said to be insulted by, giving his job as a jeweller and Jewish ancestry. Speaking to the Daily Echo, Rose said
‘I didn’t agree with the leaflet to send off which I felt was racist and there was no way I was going to send it out. It said seven million immigrants came into the country under Labour party and was red, white and black. I thought the leaflet would incite racial tension.’
Smith admits to giving Rose documents and advice for his campaign, but denies giving him canvassing data or the leaflet, though the Conservative Party believes that the leaflet came from somebody working in Itchen’s Conservative campaign and are investigating.
An unknown Conservative Party Spokesman said;
‘Royston discussed campaign progress as he would have done with any other candidate who asked. There was no deal and the Conservative party does not do deals with other parties.’
Hampshire Constabulary have confirmed that the complaint has been brought to them and that they are investigating, but it is not currently known if the allegations would breach electoral law.
Wessex Scene have reached out to Smith and Rose for comment, and will update you on this story as it develops.