Violinist Nigel Kennedy faces police probe over Hampstead and Kilburn election comments
- Credit: Archant
Police are looking into allegations that world famous violinist Nigel Kennedy got a friend to vote for Labour’s Glenda Jackson using his wife’s voting card in the 2010 general election.
In an interview with The Guardian published on Saturday, Mr Kennedy, who lives in Belsize Park, was asked if he voted in the last election when Ms Jackson won the Hampstead and Kilburn seat by just 42 votes.
He is reported as saying, “Oh yeah”, before adding, “In fact my wife wasn’t there, so I got another friend to go and vote for Jackson with my wife’s voting card”.
Mr Kennedy was then asked, “Seriously?”, and he replied, “Yeah, yeah, man, and it was really worth it in that case”.
Voting as someone else without them applying for an officially sanctioned proxy vote is an offence under the Representation of the People Act 1983.
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The maximum penalty is two years in prison and a fine.
Chris Philp, the Conservative parliamentary candidate who stood against Ms Jackson in the 2010 general election, reported the issue to the Borough Commander of Camden police, Ch Supt Ben-Julian Harrington.
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He received confirmation today that a detective is looking into the case.
A spokesman for Camden police said: “Officers are currently assessing information provided to determine whether an offence was committed.”
Mr Philp, who runs his own investment business, said he will not be contesting the election result.
But the 37-year-old said he was “angry” when he read about the claims and said Mr Kennedy had potentially “undermined democracy”.
He said: “The election is done and dusted but I think there is a serious issue here.
“Mr Kennedy is a celebrity and by publicly boasting about allegedly breaking election law he is undermining democracy, that’s why it’s really important it does get followed up by the police.
“It may be one vote but every vote does count. This can’t go unpunished.”
Ms Jackson, who announced she would not be running in the 2015 general election, told the Ham&High: “I’m grateful he [Mr Kennedy] voted for me, but as this is being investigated by police I don’t think it would be appropriate to make any comment until the facts are out there.”
Mr Kennedy was unavailable for comment.