Election 2015

Reality Check: Have 319 councillors stood down in 2015?

Paul Nuttall Image copyright Getty Images

Paul Nuttall, deputy leader of UKIP, said on the Today Programme this morning that: "Since January the first this year there's been 319 councillors from all of the other political parties who have either been convicted or stood down."

He was making the point that UKIP does not have a monopoly on candidates getting into trouble after the party's prospective MP for North East Hampshire, Robert Blay, was suspended after being filmed by the Daily Mirror apparently threatening to shoot a Conservative rival.

It isn't a strictly accurate comparison, because the figure is for councillors not just prospective parliamentary candidates, but let's go with it for now.

The number comes from a blog called Nope, Not Hope but it does not make quite the same claims about it that Mr Nuttall makes.

The blog says it has "published details of 319 councillors from Labour, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats who have been involved with the police over criminal activity or investigated for their behaviour", which is not the same thing at all.

And if you look at some of the miscreants cited in the list you may doubt the figure further.

It includes the widely-quoted comments by the Moroccan-born mayor of Rotterdam Ahmed Aboutaleb. As far as I know, he has not been investigated for his comments, but more to the point Rotterdam is not part of the UK.

There are examples of the wives and children of councillors getting into trouble, although they themselves were not investigated.

And indeed there are examples of councillors who were investigated being counted more than once in the original list.

A councillor for Plaid Cymru in Wrexham, for example, appears on the list both when he pleaded not guilty to assault, and when he was found not guilty of assault. And of course, he does not count as being affiliated to Labour, the Conservatives or the Liberal Democrats, so should not be on the list anyway.

This does not mean that UKIP has a monopoly on candidates getting into trouble though. The Liberal Democrats, for example, replaced Jason Zadrozny as their candidate for Ashfield in Nottinghamshire after he was accused of child sex offences.

The Conservative candidate for Dudley North Afzal Amin resigned over claims of a plot between him and the English Defence League. Both cases were widely reported.

Researchers from Loughborough University have been investigating the press coverage of political parties during this election, counting the balance of articles that have shown parties in a positive or negative light during the campaign.

They found that press coverage of UKIP has overall been slightly negative, although they found it had been considerably more negative about Labour.

But the 319 figure certainly does not stand up to the Reality Check.

Election 2015 - Reality Check

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