Candidate’s postal vote complaint

Sheffield City Council Chief Executive John Mothersole
Sheffield City Council Chief Executive John Mothersole
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A COMPLAINT has been made against a Labour council candidate in Sheffield after he allegedly broke a voluntary code of conduct by offering to help return constituents’ postal votes.

Mohammad Akbar, standing in Central Ward against defending councillor Jillian Creasy, Green Party group leader, made the offer in a letter sent to residents.

It said: “If you vote by post and are having difficulty getting your vote back to the Town Hall, or are worried you haven’t received it, call me.”

Mr Akbar’s action allegedly broke a voluntary Electoral Commission code of conduct about postal voting which the Labour Party is signed up to.

Green Party election agent Eamonn Ward reported the letter to John Mothersole, Sheffield Council chief executive and returning officer.

Mr Ward said: “It is quite clear that all enquiries on the return of postal votes should be made direct to the Elections Office. Exactly what is the ‘difficulty getting your vote back to the Town Hall’ that requires help? You just need to put the envelope in the nearest post box.” Sheffield Council Lib Dem leader Paul Scriven, whose party is also challenging for the seat, said: “The judgement of the Labour candidate doesn’t seem that sound.”

Mr Mothersole said: “It would appear this matter does not comply with the code. We have raised the issue with the relevant party officials and understand action has been taken to remedy this and the matter is now closed.”

Mr Akbar said he did not realise he was doing anything wrong. Tony Slatcher, of Sheffield Labour Party, said: “We deny any wrongdoing and have always been fully signed up to and in support of the Code of Conduct.”