COPS are probing claims of electoral fraud after allegations were made Tories offered peerages to senior Brexit Party members to get them to stand down.
Scotland Yard today confirmed it is looking into the allegations after Lord Falconer wrote to the force calling for an investigation into the General Election battle.
The Labour former lord chancellor’s letter to Dame Cressida Dick and Max Hill QC refers to Nigel Farage‘s claim that he and eight other senior figures within the Brexit Party were offered peerages.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday dismissed the claims as “nonsense.”
The Metropolitan Police said: “The MPS has received two allegations of electoral fraud and malpractice in relation to the 2019 General Election.
“The MPS special enquiry team is responsible for investigating all such criminal allegations. Both allegations are currently being assessed.
“The MPS will not be providing comment about individual cases.”
Mr Farage has claimed he had repeatedly been offered a seat in the House of Lords in an attempt to persuade him to “go quietly”.
He said that when that failed, people working “deep inside Number 10” had tried to bypass him, going directly to senior Brexit Party figures and suggesting eight of them could be made peers if they could persuade him to withdraw more of his candidates.
But commenting on the claims on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, Michael Gove said: “I’ve got great respect for Charlie Falconer (Lord Falconer) but I think that this sounds pretty nonsensical to me.”
And the Prime Minister said there may have been “conversations” between senior Tories and people in the Brexit Party, but denied there had been any offers of peerages.
Mr Johnson hit back at the claims, saying that was “just not the way we operate”.
In a Q&A session with the BBC, he said: “What is this nonsense? I am sure there are conversations that take place between politicians of all parties but certainly nobody’s been offered a peerage.”
Lord Falconer said: “These are exceptionally serious allegations which the DPP must, in accordance with his statutory duty, fully investigate as a matter of urgency.
“In addition, in order to maintain public confidence in the integrity of our electoral processes and this election, it is crucial that the Metropolitan Police also examine these accusations.”
His letter includes a mention of Ann Widdecombe, the former Tory MP now standing for the Brexit Party in Plymouth Sutton and Devonport.
Ms Widdecombe said she was offered a role in the Brexit negotiations if she was prepared to stand aside and today told LBC she would “swear on the bible” over the claims.
Pressed on Ms Widdecombe’s claim, Mr Gove said: “I haven’t spoken to Ann and I don’t know anyone who has spoken to Ann for months now.”
Commenting on whether he has asked anyone in the Conservative Party if the claims are true, Mr Gove said: “I think the Prime Minister has been very clear that we’re not engaging in pacts, negotiations – the decision for the Brexit Party to stand down was, as I understand it, a unilateral decision that was taken because the leadership of the Brexit Party recognised that if they stood in a range of seats they would imperil the chance of a Conservative majority government.”