Controversial landlord Fergus Wilson claims Kent MP asked him to stand for Conservatives as police and crime commissioner
PUBLISHED: 10:15 07 April 2017 | UPDATED: 14:09 07 April 2017
However, the MP has denied any involvement in the process of choosing a candidate for last year’s election
Under-fire landlord Fergus Wilson has sensationally claimed he was asked to stand for the Conservatives in last year’s police and crime commissioner election by a Kent MP.
The property tycoon, who has faced a barrage of criticism recently after imposing a ban on “coloured” tenants, fearing they would make his homes “stink of curry”, claims he was urged to represent the Tories by Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant.
Mr Wilson, 69, who lives in Boughton Monchelsea in the MP’s constituency, says the pair met at an event at Maidstone Business Club on November 15, 2015, when Mrs Grant urged him to stand for the £85,000-a-year role under the party banner.
It is then claimed bosses at Conservative HQ didn’t want the controversial millionaire to stand as candidate and tactically “parachuted in” eventual winner Matthew Scott, who was working in the office of Bexleyheath and Crayford MP David Evennett, in a similar move to the selection of Craig Mackinlay to rival Nigel Farage for the South Thanet seat in the 2015 general election.
Subsequently, Mr Wilson, though a member of the Conservatives himself, intented to stand as an independent candidate in the vote last May.
But there were question marks over Mr Wilson’s eligibility to stand, with Electoral Commission guidance stating potential candidates cannot stand for election if, on the day of nomination, and on polling day they have ever been convicted of an imprisonable offence.
Mr Wilson was convicted of assault by beating after hitting an estate agent in Folkestone in 2013, though said he had been given advice claiming he could stand after all, as his conviction did not carry a sentencing of more than a year in prison.
However, he was ultimately barred from the race when his nomination papers were rejected by the electoral returning officer Nadeem Aziz of Dover District Council.
The rules claim that the poll card numbers and signatures of 100 registered electors must be submitted by hand, which Mr Wilson failed to do in time.
He then applied for a judicial review at the High Court, but a ruling was made in favour of the council.
As a result, Mr Wilson revealed he was ordered to pay some £20,000 in costs, although the council was also required to find £6,000.
The landlord told us this week he is still fighting against the decision in European courts, but said “I don’t want a re-run of the election”.
Mrs Grant has distanced herself from the property mogul’s claims.
“Fergus Wilson made his own decision to stand for the position of PCC,” she told us.
“I do recall Mr Wilson telling me of his decision to stand whilst also expressing his belief that the Conservative Party would not have him as their candidate.
“I had no involvement in the process at all.”
Conservative HQ was contacted several times for comment but failed to respond.
In response to his comments on “coloured” tenants at the end of last month, anti-racist activists this week delivered curries to Mr Wilson’s home and business addresses.
“It was a silly thing to do because my dogs can easily scale the fence,” he said.