High Court asked to overturn council election result after mix up

Paul Penlington, Labour (left) and Allan Pennington, Conservative (right)
The mistake was made due to the strong similarities in the names of both candidates standing in the same electoral ward Photo: Welsh Labour/Conservatives

The High Court is being asked to overturn a council election result after votes for Labour candidate Paul Penlington were wrongly given to Conservative rival Allan Pennington. Denbigshire council admitted that Mr Penlington would have won if his votes had been correctly allocated. The council blamed human error for the mix up. While welsh Labour confirmed it was seeking to have the result overturned.

In a statement today Denbighshire council has indicated to the court that it has no objection to this happening and that they are now waiting further direction.

Following the declaration of the results at the Denbighshire County Council election on 4 May, Returning Officer Mohammed Mehmet has announced that an error had been made in the election of a councillor in the Prestatyn North electoral ward.

Under counting procedures where block votes are made for party candidates they are logged onto a control sheet, the results of the Prestatyn North Division have been checked confirming that unfortunately the block votes for one Labour candidate were inadvertently allocated to a Conservativecandidate.

As a result this meant that the Labour candidate did not receive the correct number of votes cast for him at the election. The candidates were Allan Pennington (Conservative) and Paul Penlington(Labour).

The Returning Officer has informed the agents of both parties involved of the situation, and the matter is now in the hands of the Labour Party candidate as to whether he petitions for an invalidation of the result.

I have sincerely apologised personally on behalf of the Council to the two agents...Denbighshire prides itself on having rigorous processes in place in dealing with elections and we have run numerous counts without any problem whatsoever.

However, on this rare occasion, a human error has been made. It is believed the mistake was made due to the strong similarities in the names of both candidates standing in the same electoral ward.

Although that does not excuse the mistake, we would like to reassure Denbighshire residents that mistakes of this nature are extremely rare. We will be looking at our procedures again to see how we can tighten them further.

– Mohammed Mehmet, Returning Officer