Allegations a Brighton councillor lied on election forms have now been referred to the police.
Chandni Mistry and Bharti Gajjar were expelled from the Labour Party after an investigation into where they live, the party announced today.
Brighton and Hove News understands that Bharti Gajjar, does have a genuine address in Brighton – but lied about living in different parts of the country when applying to be a parliamentary candidate in several constituencies.
However it is believed Chandni Mistry, who is Cllr Gajjar’s niece, has never actually lived here – although she has today told The Argus she lives at an unspecified address “in the heart of Brighton”.
Brighton Kemptown MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle wrote directly to Sussex Police chief constable Jo Shiner last week passing on information he thinks should be investigated.
Any councillor who is convicted of lying on official election forms would have to stand down and could face up to a year in prison.
Mr Russell-Moyle said: “We found out a few months ago that something strange was going on.
“At that moment we alerted the regional and national party who had imposed these candidates without any local control.
“When party process discovered wrongdoing I passed all my information on these councillors to the council and the police and I think there are questions for both to investigate.
“These councillors have let us all down.
“I think Kemptown is the most exciting ward to be a councillor for. If I was not an MP, I would give my right arm to be a councillor in Kemptown ward.
“It has diverse views, real opportunities, the seafront – it’s fantastic.
“But we have had one councillor who has defrauded us in a deeply upsetting way.”
Brighton and Hove News has been shown documents and a website which suggest Bharti Gajjar applied to be a prospective parliamentary candidate in both South Derbyshire and Morecambe and Lunesdale. She was not selected for either seat.
The website, which features pictures of her campaigning in Brighton, says: “I feel compelled to be a Labour candidate for Morecambe and Lunesdale because this city [sic] holds my heart.
“From my formative years in its vibrant neighborhoods to witnessing its challenges and triumphs, Morecambe and Lunesdale has shaped my values and aspirations.”
The bottom of the website says: “Bharti Gajjar, FRSA from South Derbyshire.”
Morecambe is a town, Lunesdale is a former district and South Derbyshire is a district – none are cities.
FRSA stands for Fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts – the same organisation Cllr Mistry claimed to be a fellow of in her interview with the Argus today. Membership is available to anyone over 18 who pays an annual fee.
The website also claims Cllr Gajjar has a degree in ethics from Yale, and was a special envoy to the G20.
Brighton and Hove News understands the council has also been asked to investigate both councillors’ register of interests as a standards issue.
Cllr Mistry, who has been a medical student at Lancaster University, listed GMB, Unison, the Royal College of Surgeons, a hospital trustee member and the British Medical Council (the last of which does not exist).
Cllr Gajjar listed the Disabled Union, British Medical Association, GMB Union, Co-Operative, Royal Marsden Hospital and Royal Sussex County Hospital.