You may not have heard of Hugh Mennie. But UKIP certainly has: he stood for them in Cambridgeshire’s recent county council elections. And the people at the Crown Prosecution Service have also heard of him: they have just decided to charge him over making false statements in his nomination papers, following an investigation by Cambridgeshire Police.
So what has he allegedly done? “It is alleged that Hugh Mennie falsified details on a nomination paper in order to stand for election to Cambridgeshire County Council. The nomination paper requires a proposer, a seconder and eight other signatures from ‘assenters’ - people who live in the election catchment area. It is alleged that three of these assenter nomination signatures were forged”.
Oh dear. So Mennie has been charged “with one count of causing or permitting a false statement to appear in a nomination paper”, has been duly summonsed, and will appear in court early next month. So where has the coverage been? For starters, surely the Tories will have something to say? Not a bit of it: there hasn’t been a mention, for instance, on ConHome.
Maybe they’re going to wait, and kick Nigel “Thirsty” Farage and his pals if Mennie gets guilty. But the rest of the media isn’t exactly rushing to tell the news: the BBC have got the story, as has Sky News (“first for breaking wind”). And the HuffPost UK has posted an item. After that, pickings range from thin to non-existent. The only paper to have run the story appears to have been the Mail.
You’re having difficulty finding the mention in that Mail story? That is not surprising: most of the piece is about UKIP subjecting its candidates to psychometric testing before letting them loose on the electorate for next year’s European Parliament elections (and the good news that they have decided not to put James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole on their list).
Mennie’s case gets a cursory mention at the very end. Isn’t any other national newspaper covering this case? ITV News completes the line-up of broadcasters, but it’s downright strange that the press isn’t bothered: charges for alleged electoral fraud are usually guaranteed coverage. Anyone would think that the press had gone soft on UKIP – or is there another, larger story about to break here?
Just a thought, you understand. Or perhaps the press really has lost interest in Farage’s party, unless the news features Himself Personally Now.