AN election hopeful standing for a local government seat in Billinge has accused the UK Independence Party of “rigging” a vote on parliamentary candidates.
Peter Peers had hoped to represent UKIP in St Helens North but lost out at the party’s hustings in February by two votes to Ian Smith.
But Mr Peers said party rules were broken at the vote with members drafted in at the last minute to boost Mr Smith’s cause.
He told the Evening Post that complaints about the system have been ignored and in protest at how he has been treated he has resigned and is now standing as an independent in the local elections on May 7.
Mr Peers, a UKIP member of two years, said: “I feel let down by the party.
“This happened in February and we could have had another vote the week after, we voiced our concerns straightaway.
“But it’s too late now the declarations have been made.”
Mr Smith won the prospective parliamentary candidate vote (PPC) by two votes but Mr Peers claims voters were only signed as members of UKIP days before.
And one only applied to be a member four days after the vote.
The party constitution states members who have been in the party for 28 days or more are eligible to vote in the PPC. This requirement was reduced from six months late last year.
Mr Peers has obtained documentary evidence from UKIP’s head office confirming the six people who voted for his rival became party members well after the cut-off point.
He added: “A formal complaint was subsequently submitted to a number of UKIP executives who failed to take any substantive action leaving those who made the complaint facing threats of legal action.
“I lost out by two votes but I believe six votes should not have been taken into account.”
He had previously been told the party would not consider “any procedural disciplinary matters until after the election”.
The Evening Post contacted UKIP about Mr Peer’s allegations and received the following statement: “This is an internal party matter that has no bearing on the positive policies UKIP is offering voters.”
Mr Peers is standing as an independent candidate in the St Helens Council elections for Billinge and Senley Green ward, his fellow candidates are Joe Pearson (Labour), Judith Collins (Conservative) and Susan Rahman (Green Party).
His fellow candidates are Denise Aspinall (Lib Dems), Paul Richardson (Conservative), Elizabeth Ward (Green) and Conor McGinn (Labour).