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Ukip councillor to face electoral malpractice charges

UKIP councillor Matthew Smith.

A Ukip councillor and would-be MP who is set to be charged over electoral malpractice allegations involving forged nomination papers says he will deny all wrongdoing.

Matthew Smith, who was due to contest the Great Yarmouth seat in next year's general election, will appear in court next month.

The county councillor, who is 26 and from High Street, Gorleston, is set to face seven counts of supplying a nomination paper to a returning officer knowing it to contain a forged signature and three counts of producing forged nomination papers.

The allegations relate to nomination papers for Norfolk County Council elections held in the Great Yarmouth district between March and April last year.

Today Ukip said Mr Smith had been suspended from both the Ukip group on Norfolk County Council and as a prospective parliamentary candidate.

But the councillor said he would deny all the charges and criticised the way news of the allegations had been made public.

He said: "If I am charged - and I haven't been charged yet - I will be denying all charges. I'll be pleading not guilty to everything.

"I want to issue a real cause for concern that the press was made aware of these charges before I was."

In a statement Norfolk Constabulary today said three men in total had been reported for summons. The charges were authorised by the Crown Prosecution Service.

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Political journalist named lead UKIP candidate in the East

Patrick O'Flynn has been named lead UKIP candidate in the East of England for the 2014 European Elections Credit: UKIP

UKIP has named its list of candidates standing in the 2014 European Elections in the East of England.

At the top of the list of seven candidates is Patrick O'Flynn who is currently the Chief Political Correspondent at the Daily Express.

The current UKIP MEP for the East of England Stuart Agnew is second on the list with the head of the party's Policy Unit, Tim Aker third.

UKIP came second in the East of England in the 2009 European Elections with 20% of the vote.

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UKIP celebrating strong vote in Anglia region

The UK Independence Party is celebrating a strong showing in early results in the county county elections in the Anglia region. UKIP gained 9 councillors in Essex ousting Conservatives who slumped to their worst performance in more than four decades.

Although the party has so far made no gains in Hertfordshire, its share of the vote in many electoral divisions is above 25%.

UKIP's candidate in Old Stevenage Sean Howlett said: "Speaking to the average person on the street they're just sick to death of the tired establishment parties and they want something new, something fresh with a common sense approach to politics."

The out-going leader of Essex County Council Peter Martin said: "On the doorstep we heard a lot of people protesting about the government at a national level and we're suffering obviously as I'm sure the whole country is."

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