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Councillor reports opponent to police after leaflet claim

ACOUNTYcouncil candidate for Melksham has been reported to the police for allegedly breaking election law by printing false information on his campaign leaflet.

UKIndependence Party county councillor for Melksham Central, David Pollitt, is taking action against a competitor for his seat, candidate Mike Swinton, claiming his Conservative Party has circulated a leaflet containing an incorrect claim about him.

Approximately 2,000 leaflets, which cllr Pollitt says were delivered to homes in the town on the weekend of 18th March, claimed he “has not reported a single pothole in the past three years.”

Cllr Pollitt said he is ‘hugely disappointed’ by the move and that the matter is now in the hands of the police. He said he has reported numerous potholes during his time as a councillor and showed Melksham News evidence he had reported one on 22nd August 2016.

A representative of Mr Swinton said the statement was printed in error and that a new leaflet would be distributed.

Cllr Pollitt said, “I don’t accept that this was printed by mistake and I’m disappointed that I haven’t been offered an apology or a retraction.

“I have invested a lot of time and effort into being a councillor since I was elected, and to think I could lose my seat as a result of this is upsetting.”

Cllr Pollitt, who has lived in Melksham for 27 years, was elected to Wiltshire Council for the first time in 2013. He is Wiltshire Council’s only UKIP representative.

Mike Swinton did not respond directly to Melksham News’s enquiry, but his Salisbury-based agent said, “When this went through our technical check, it should have been changed to ‘I am disappointed that our sitting UKIP Councillor appears not to have been active when it comes to reporting potholes over the last three years.’

“We will be sending out a revised leaflet, before 4 April, that will address this error.”

Cllr Pollitt added, “Mr Swinton doesn’t know me and he doesn’t know what I’ve done in my time as a councillor. Some of my constituents have app-roached me to say the claim in the leaflet was nonsense, and I’m grateful for their support.

“It’s pretty desperate that it has come to this. If the Conservatives are so worried about losing seats they should come up with some decent policies instead of resorting to silly and unnecessary personal attacks.”