The Conservative Party police and crime commissioner (PCC) candidate for Wiltshire has been disbarred after a historical drink driving conviction was revealed, making him ineligible to stand for the role.
ITV News has spent weeks investigating the background of Jonathon Seed after sources suggested there was something in his history that would prevent him from standing.
We approached both Mr Seed and the Conservative Party before polling day and asked them both whether he had ever been convicted. They did not respond to our specific questions.
Eight days before polling day we approached Conservative candidate Mr Seed directly while he was canvassing in Chippenham.
Repeatedly we asked: “Have you ever been convicted?”
His response: “I have made it very clear I will not engage with ITV News.”
We also put to Mr Seed the question of what he had declared on his PCC nomination form.
He refused to answer.
Nine days before the election we had asked Conservative Party HQ specifically about whether their candidate had been arrested and if so what was the outcome?
They did not answer our direct question but instead referred us to Mr Seed’s campaign who did not respond.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the Conservative Party said: “Due to a historic driving offence that has come to light, the candidate has been disbarred from becoming the police and crime commissioner.”
ITV News understands that the party was not aware of this conviction although it is not clear when they were informed of it.
In a statement, Mr Seed said he had declared his "30-year-old driving conviction to the Party in my applications both to be a Parliamentary candidate and more recently a PCC candidate.
"Party officials confirmed my belief that my offence did not disqualify me."
All candidates must make a declaration on a nomination form before standing in a PCC election.
The form asks PCC candidates to sign beneath a statement that says: “I am aware of the provisions of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 and to the best of my knowledge and belief I am not disqualified from election as Police and Crime Commissioner.”
The Act itself says: “A person is disqualified from being elected as, or being, a police and crime commissioner if the person has been convicted in the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man, of any imprisonable offence (whether or not sentenced to a term of imprisonment in respect of the offence)."
Drink Driving, the offence Jonathon Seed has now admitted to, is an imprisonable offence and has been according since 1925 when the Criminal Justice Act made it “an offence to be found drunk in charge of ANY mechanically propelled vehicle on any highway or other public place. The penalty for which was a fine not exceeding £50 and/or imprisonment for a period not exceeding four months.”
Tonight ITV News understands that the Conservative Party are deciding whether or not Jonathon Seed will be expelled from the party.
In a statement, Mr Seed said: "I can confirm that I have today withdrawn my candidacy for the post of police crime commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon.
"To the best of my knowledge and belief when I applied for, and became the Police and Crime Commissioner candidate for the Conservative Party in Wiltshire and Swindon, I was an eligible candidate.
"I have declared my 30-year-old driving conviction to the Party in my applications both to be a Parliamentary candidate and more recently a PCC candidate.
"Party officials confirmed my belief that my offence did not disqualify me.
"I have now been advised that this is not the case, and that I am disqualified as a PCC candidate. I have therefore withdrawn.
"I am bitterly disappointed that I will not be able to take up the post if I were to be elected.
"I wish the successful candidate every success in the role.
"I will continue with my work as a local councillor and within the local community, to which I have dedicated my life for the past 20 years."
Terence Herbert, returning officer for the Wiltshire and Swindon Police and Crime Commissioner area, confirmed that the count would go ahead as planned on Monday.
"Once a candidate's nomination paper has been accepted by the Returning Officer, they are formally a candidate and their name must appear on the ballot paper," Mr Herbert said.
"As the election was held on Thursday, May 6, the ballot papers must be verified and counted and the result declared, in accordance with electoral law.
"The Wiltshire and Swindon Police and Crime Commissioner election count will take place as planned on Monday 10 May at Five Rivers Health and Wellbeing Centre in Salisbury."