Election 2015 England

Labour's Wellingborough candidate Richard Garvie suspended over fraud

Richard Garvie Image copyright The Labour Party
Image caption Richard Garvie said he had been in a "difficult financial situation"

A Labour parliamentary candidate has been suspended after being convicted of fraud, the party has confirmed.

Richard Garvie, 30, who is standing for Wellingborough and Rushden, was found guilty of buying about £900 worth of train tickets using a bank account he knew contained insufficient funds.

He had denied the offence and told the BBC he "did not set out to defraud East Midlands Trains".

His name will stay on ballot papers as it is too late for it to be removed.

Garvie, from Corby, Northamptonshire, was convicted at Wellingborough Magistrates' Court on Thursday and will be sentenced at a later date.

He said he ran up a debt in his own name in 2012 because he had been "desperate to see the people he cared about" in Berkshire.

"I didn't know I'd get into trouble. I intentionally went overdrawn on my account, that account was then sent to a debt collection agency and the debt was paid off," he said.

"What happened since is East Midlands Trains have brought the prosecution.

"I didn't confide in anybody. I genuinely believed I hadn't done anything wrong."

'Act of stupidity'

The former candidate, who intends to appeal against his conviction, said he was "devastated, not just for [himself] but for the constituency" and is still considering his political options.

"It was an act of stupidity three years ago. I've apologised and hope it doesn't have any impact on the party," he said.

"If people still want to vote Labour, then vote for me on the ballot paper.

"If Labour were to win the election, I think there would be a question mark for me as to whether it would be right for me to continue as an MP."

The Labour Party has not yet offered any guidance on what its voters should do if they want to vote for them next Thursday.

The Wellingborough seat was held by Conservative Peter Bone who won by a majority of 11,787 votes in 2010.

Mr Bone is standing again, against Chris Nelson for the Liberal Democrats, Marion Turner-Hawes of the Green Party and UKIP's Jonathan Munday.

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