Voting miscount affects St Albans councillor vying for parliamentary seat
PUBLISHED: 12:32 10 January 2014 | UPDATED: 12:32 10 January 2014
A St Albans councillor chasing her political ambitions to become a Member of Parliament for South East Cambridgeshire has unwittingly become embroiled in a voting controversy.
St Albans district councillor for Marshalswick South Heidi Allen has hit the headlines in The Daily Telegraph after an alleged voting miscount may have resulted in selection of the wrong candidate in the safe Tory seat.
The 38 year old was one of four candidates shortlisted from over 100 applicants to become South East Cambridgeshire’s next MP.
The Conservative signalled her ambition to become a member of Parliament over a year after ousting leading Lib Dem Melvyn Teare from Marshalswick South, who had been a councillor for eight years.
Cllr Allen, of London Colney, has a degree in astrophysics and once ran The Farmers Boy pub on London Road in St Albans. She is now managing director of a family-run business which manufactures paint for motorcycles.
According to The Telegraph, the Conservatives are facing embarrassment after an alleged voting miscount, which could potentially rob her of the chance to run for Parliament.
The constituency is currently held by Sir Jim Paice, who is to retire.
Cambridge-educated barrister Lucy Frazer was apparently last month verified as the official nominee for the area over Cllr Allen, who was tipped to win the seat.
But The Telegraph added that Miss Frazer allegedly received fewer votes in the final round of the Open Primary vote by the local Conservative association, than her rival.
The paper went on to say that the possible miscount happened in the third and final round of voting between the two women.
A pile of 25 votes was marked as being for Miss Frazer, despite just the top two papers being for her, and the remainder for Cllr Allen.
If 23 of Miss Frazer’s votes were for Cllr Allen, then the latter would have won by 71 to 61.
The alleged error was discovered after an activist took the ballot papers home and did a recount.
A spokesman for South East Cambridgeshire Conservatives said there would be a meeting tonight (Friday) to decide what to do next – whether to choose one candidate over another, or “start the process all over again”.
He said the votes could not now be officially recounted, adding “it is an incredibly unusual situation”.
Cllr Allen said she could not comment on the alleged miscount.
However she was keen to enter Parliament “as [it is] the next step to continue helping people”.
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