Former UKIP candidate denies any electoral fraud

Matthew Smith arriving at his continuing trial at Norwich Crown Court.

Matthew Smith arriving at his continuing trial at Norwich Crown Court. - Credit: Rob Colman

A former UKIP Parliamentary hopeful said he did not forge any signatures on nomination papers for the county council elections in Norfolk, in 2013, and told a jury he would not have had any motive or reason to do this.

Matthew Smith, 27, of High Street, Gorleston, is one of three UKIP supporters accused of electoral fraud on trial at Norwich Crown Court.

The charges relate to the 2013 polls in the Great Yarmouth area when Smith stood for election and acted as UKIP's electoral agent.

The prosecution claim there were forged signatures on seven of the eight forms submitted by the party in that campaign.

Smith has denied six counts of making a false statement in nomination papers knowing they contained false signatures and three of making false nomination papers.

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Smith told the jury that he had no idea who was responsible for altering the nomination papers, but insisted it was not him.

'All I know is that I have done nothing wrong.'

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He added: 'All I can say is that I know it is not me, I know I have done nothing wrong. I cannot explain it. There is no motive for me to do these things.'

He said the prosecution appear to suggest that he had a magical team of forgers hiding in his back pocket.

He said that was not the case and said it could not be ruled out that others had forged signatures and tampered with the forms after he had handed them in.

'I had no motive to do that. Why would I do that?.'

Asked about his current position with UKIP, Smith replied that he was suspended from the party since he had been charged.

'I'm a member, but I'm a suspended member.'

Two other men, 60 year-old Michael Monk, of Freeman Close, Hopton, and Daniel Thistlethwaite, 20, of Station Road South, Belton, have pleaded not guilty to one charge of making a false statement in nomination papers.

The trial continues.

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