Council investigates Dan Snow claim of Brexit Party leaflet in postal vote envelope
NEW FOREST District Council is investigating a claim by TV historian Dan Snow that a Brexit Party leaflet was delivered to his New Forest home in the same official envelope carrying his postal ballot for the European elections.
Mr Snow (40), who lives in Lepe, tweeted a picture of the campaign message along with the paperwork sent out by New Forest District Council, the authority responsible for running local votes.
“I have been away a lot and opened a load of post yesterday,” Mr Snow told the A&T on Monday.
“I am sure it was in the same envelope. I have no evidence at all though.
“I would like to check if this is the sign of a wider effort to influence the ballot.”
He said the election message from the Brexit Party also carried his address.
An NFDC spokesperson said: “We’re aware of this allegation, our belief is that it is unfounded but we are investigating.”
The European elections will be held on Thursday with the count and results announced on Sunday.
Mr Snow has argued against Brexit and helped fund coaches that carried several hundred New Forest residents to a march in London in October last year calling for a fresh referendum.
In 2016 the New Forest voted 58% to 42% in favour of leaving the EU.
A spokesperson for the Electoral Commission told the A&T that local authorities must ensure fair play but said there was nothing in law that specifically banned election materials being sent with postal ballots.
He said: "The law states what must be included in a postal ballot pack but not what cannot be included in it. These packs are issued by the local authority and the regional returning officer."
The New Forest is in the UK’s south-east region which will send back 10 MEPs. The seats are being contested by 85 candidates made up of nine party lists and three Independents.
Mr Snow tweeted to his more than 270,000 followers yesterday: “I have just opened my postal ballot and this just fell out. How is that a thing?”
NFDC replied on Twitter saying: “Just to say we are looking into this – our belief is that it is unfounded but will be back in touch with more info as soon as we can.”
Reactions on Twitter ranged from disbelief at Mr Snow’s claim, to outrage at the alleged misuse of official electoral communications.
The south-east electoral area comprises Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, East Sussex, West Sussex, Kent, Surrey, Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire.
Christchurch residents will be casting their ballots to choose six MEPs representing the south-west, with an overall list of 41 candidates made up of eight party lists and Independents.
The region includes Dorset, Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Wiltshire, Bristol and Gloucestershire.
The A&T has asked for a response from the Brexit Party.