Lord Falconer, a former Labour minister, wrote to the Met Police Commissioner and Director of Public Prosecutions calling for a probe into what he said were “exceptional serious allegations”. The complaints relate to allegations made by Brexit Party heavyweights Nigel Farage and Ann Widdecombe, who said the Tories offered jobs to Brexit Party candidates to get them to stand aside. Boris Johnson categorically denied the allegations in an interview ITV’s Robert Peston yesterday.
Lord Falconer said the matter needed to be investigated as a matter of urgency and must be looked at by police in order to maintain public confidence in the integrity of the election.
He said that as breaches of the 1983 Act may have taken place, he is “formally requesting that the Director of Public Prosecutions do institute the necessary investigations and commence such prosecutions as he sees fit”.
In his letter, Lord Falconer cites the law which refers to “bribery” and “corruptly”, inducing or procuring someone to withdraw from being a candidate at an election.
Eight leading Brexit Party members claimed they had been offered peerages if they withdrew from the general election.
Mr Farage 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.
Mr Farage is understood to be compiling a dossier to submit to the Met police.
The Prime Minister acknowledged that there may have been “conversations” between senior Tories and people in the Brexit Party, but flatly denied there had been any offers of peerages, saying that was “just not the way we operate”.
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.”
Commenting on the letter 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.”
Mr Habib said he is aware of a number of his collegues being offered Government roles if they were to step down from running in the general election.
He told Sophy Ridge: “I am aware that a number of my colleagues have been pressed, Ann Widdecombe I know was offered a negotiating position from someone from No.10.”
The Met are currently assessing the complaints.
Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib has accused the Toriesof “being economic with the truth” over claims No10 offered Brexit Party candidates jobs.
Labour’s Andrew Gwynne has called for a “full investigation” into “serious allegations”.
He said: “For Michael Gove to fail to deny that the government has used jobs and peerages to pressure candidates from another party to not stand in an election is shocking”.