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UKIP accused of ‘gutter politics’ on election eve

Date published: 21 May 2014

Joe Fitzpatrick is at the centre of a political storm after publishing a UKIP leaflet lampooning postal-vote fraud.

Mr Fitzpatrick left the Labour party four years ago following the high-profile court case that ended with former MP Phil Woolas ousted from his Oldham East and Saddleworth seat.

Oldham Council leader Jim McMahon has described this latest stunt as “gutter politics” following controversial claims made in the leaflet.

The leaflet, for Alexandra ward UKIP candidate Dave Carter, features a seven-point plan: “How to win an election in Oldham”. It seemingly encourages voters to impersonate friends or relatives to get extra votes at polling stations, collect unused postal votes from family and friends and steal or swap postal votes.

Mr Fitzpatrick claims Labour and the Lib-Dems already carry out these underhand tactics.

The leaflet also advises voters to collect completed postal votes from their friends, steam them open and alter the vote with Tippex - and accuses borough solicitor Paul Entwistle of turning a blind eye.

It is easy for certain councillors to win a seat, says the leaflet, because they can “count on the white folk not voting”.

Underneath the plan the leaflet says UKIP refuses to stand in Werneth, Coldhurst and St Mary’s as the “abuse of postal votes is widespread and democracy has been destroyed”.

Council leader Jim McMahon said: “This is truly gutter politics by any standard. It is intended to create racial divisions in the town and tarnish the reputation of honest and hard-working public officials.

“UKIP need to condemn this kind of campaigning because it brings the whole democratic process into disrepute. If they had any morals they would expel the candidates and agents involved.”

Mr Fitzpatrick has emailed the Electoral Commission to request that independent observers are sent to Friday’s count as he says he has “increasing concerns about the integrity of the election in Oldham”.

Kathryn Dunn, the Electoral Commission’s North of England liaision officer, said there will be no investigation; if officers attend the Oldham count it will be as observers. She advised Mr Fitzpatrick to go to the police with his concerns.

The UKIP leaflet has been sent to the returning officer and Greater Manchester Police, who are reviewing it for potential criminal liability.


They are all the same, whether its fixing votes, broken promises, scandals about expenses, you may as well close your eyes and pick who you vote for, nothing will ever change.

What is truly worrying is what Council Leader Jim McMahon said - "This is truly gutter politics by any standard"

He does not say that the claim is false, a lie or untrue, just that it is gutter politics.

Reasons like this that UKIP don't help themselves. I don't believe for a minute that every UKIP member is racist or prejudiced but the odd few really let them down and is the reason the majority of people don't see them as a viable political party. I have seen this leaflet and it could mean big trouble. It names individuals at the Council and the police and suggests these people are involved in electoral fraud. If I was one of those people I would seeking legal advice

I would have thought that the BNPs election leaflet showing a ranting Jihadist would have been far more offensive than this one.
But then the BNP are hardly a threat to the Labour party, and UKIP certainly are. Then there's the animosity that Joe Fitzpatrick has with Labour.
So I don't think we can read too much into this spat which was almost inevitable.

Oldham is election fraud hotspot Mr MacMahon and it is that that really puts Oldham in the gutter. The Chronicle even reported on the Electoral commission naming Oldham as an "at risk" area. Along with Blackburn, Burnley, Birmingham, Tower Hamlets, Bradford, Derby. The report was 8th Jan 2014 in this very newspaper

Truly laughable as all the main parties are guilty of "gutter politics " against UKIP . Then they cry foul when the tables are turned , just a typical reaction from Jim McMahon and his cronies . UKIP for me this time .

Joe Fitzpatrick was Labour's candidate for Saddleworth West and Lees up till early April 2014, it is understood he resigned as a candidate because he was facing disciplinary action for an alleged leak of sensitive material regarding child sexual abuse.

ukip are the only party that tell it how it is.

they have now become a party that the others are afraid of all because they ignored the true feelings of most people in this country.

this is key moment in politics. I just hope that the usual mainstream parties wake up and realise the real hot topics that they all seem to have ignored up to now!

Fitzpatrick did not leave the Labour Party "four years ago" as you suggest but a matter of weeks ago. As far as I know there was no action taken against him by the Labour Party in all the time since the vicious and racist leaflets he wrote on behalf of Labour appeared during the General Election.

So Jim McMahon is right to say that candidates and agents who indulge in this kind of politics should be expelled. If only they'd done that themselves.

Oldham is one of 16 Local Authorities under investigation by the Electoral Commission which is trying to ascertain the "vulnerability" of Asian communities to electoral fraud. A high court judge recently said on Radio 4 that "the advent of on-demand postal voting has made Britain's electoral system vulnerable to fraud on an industrial scale". Mr. Fitzpatrick's actions should be seen in the light of these facts.

Fitzpatrick left the Labour Party 6 weeks ago.

He's only voicing the opinion of many people in the borough!

A high court judge described this as "corruption that would shame a banana republic". The other parties are afraid to tackle it.

it is all over the press today about 16 towns,and oldham is one.the Electorial Commission has named these towns.it has been in the press for a few days.so does the 'leader' of this town not read any papers.'gutter politics'? the voters need to know.that's Democracy Mr McMahon.

If Joe Fitzpatrick is exonerated by the Police and Electoral Commission, I wonder if Oldham's Labour party and Jim McMahon will apologise?

Probably not.

Flake, if Fitzpatrick is exonerated, it means he told the truth and that we do have a rotten borough, in which case the Labour Council and senior officers should be collectively sacked for failing to take steps to resolve the problem.


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