THE GREEN Party is taking legal advice over “false and malicious” allegations that MP Caroline Lucas’s campaign team committed electoral fraud.
The claims were described as “nothing more than an attempt to smear the local Green Party” by chairwoman of the Brighton and Hove party Lisa Murray.
It follows serious allegations made by former Green Party treasurer and blogger Duncan Roy. Mr Roy, who blogs under the name Scrapper Duncan, claimed “almost every resource of the national party” was thrown into the Brighton Pavilion election – but that the expenditure was declared to the Electoral Commission as being spent elsewhere.
He said Ms Lucas had six officers working on her election campaign in 2010, some on pro rata wages of £30,000 and £40,000 a year – but just £1,903 staffing costs were declared to the Electoral Commission.
He wrote: “In private conversations, Green activists fall into two camps about this issue. “Either they clam up or they claim that, ‘we’re fighting the good fight, we’ve got to break the rules to get into the Westminster club’.
“It’s an argument that can only work with the converted.”
Former Green Party activist Mr Roy has courted controversy with his fierce attacks on political opponents and raised eyebrows when he announced he had left the Greens to re-join Labour.
In his blog he writes the allegations were originally made by Chris Barclay, an executive officer with the party, who has been suspended as part of disciplinary procedures.
It is believed Mr Barclay is the man behind a Twitter identity called Green Grass of Hove which has posted a series of cryptic tweets about Ms Lucas since the end of July.
Meanwhile, a separate blog published on the website PoliticalBetting.com in June claimed a poll commissioned by the Green Party had revealed that Ms Lucas was “a long way behind” Labour rival Purna Sen in the battle to retain her seat.
Ms Murray said the national party was investigating “a serious breach of confidence” including the leaking of confidential polling data by a former local executive officer, and behaviour deemed “incompatible with enjoying the status of a bona fide party member”.
She said no evidence had been produced to back up the allegations which were based on claims made by a “member of the party who is currently the subject of disciplinary proceedings”. She said the paperwork required was filled out in full and completed to the satisfaction of the Electoral Commission.
Ms Murray added: “The allegations relate to staff expenditure and take no account of the fact that campaign staff were employed by the Green Party nationally and working in other target constituencies as well as Brighton Pavilion for the duration of the election campaign.
“We intend to go beyond that which we are required to do by law and publish more detailed information, once we have fully considered the questions being raised.
“Given the high-profile nature of the 2010 general election campaign in Brighton Pavilion, it would be impossible for any of the fluctuating versions of these claims to be concealed from the public.”
The Electoral Commission said no allegation or complaint had been made on the matter. A spokeswoman said: “Any allegations we receive will be considered in line with our usual procedures.”
Caroline Lucas was contacted but could not be reached for comment.