As the SKWAWKBOX reported on Sunday, Theresa May has been reported to police over false claims she made during Friday’s BBC Question Time special about Diane Abbott and police DNA records.
May told the studio audience and millions of viewers around the country that Abbott had advocated the removal of the DNA samples of ‘criminals and terrorists’ from police databases – an accusation that is completely untrue.
Making false statements about a candidate’s ‘character or conduct’ during an election campaign is a criminal offence under section 106 of the Representation of the People Act 1983.
Paul Cardin of the Wirral in it Together blog reported the matter initially to the Metropolitan Police, as May is based in Downing Street, but the Met has advised that the matter needs to be investigated by North Yorkshire Police (NYP), because the programme was filmed – and the alleged offence committed – in York. Cardin has formally complained to NYP and has submitted evidence, including video of May’s comments.
If found guilty, Mrs May would face both criminal penalties and the loss of her parliamentary seat – assuming of course that she wins it on Thursday.
This is not a merely theoretical possibility. In 2010, Phil Woolas – who had been a government minister until that year’s General Election – was investigated and found guilty of making false statements about his LibDem opponent in the General Election.
Woolas lost his seat and was barred from public office for three years.
Paul Cardin has also reported the matter to the Electoral Commission and directly to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
The Prime Minister appears to have seriously overreached in making a statement about Ms Abbott that she must have known was untrue – on national television and with a clear intent to influence election results. It is to be hoped that North Yorkshire Police, the CPS and the Electoral Commission will treat the matter with the seriousness it deserves.
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