The deputy leader of Hyndburn council has been suspended by the Labour Party while a police investigation is conducted over accusations made by her father that she has committed electoral fraud.
Clare Pritchard is due to contest her Milnshaw seat in Accrington in a head-to-head battle with her father Malcolm, a candidate for UKIP, in Thursday’s local elections.
Police have confirmed that they have received an allegation of “alleged electoral irregularity”.
Mr Pritchard said he had contacted Hyndburn council’s returning officer Jane Ellis claiming there was evidence that four voters from other wards had been registered as living at Ms Pritchard’s Moss Hall Road address in the ward.
A spokesman for the North West Labour Party confirmed that Ms Pritchard had been suspended from the party while the investigation is carried out, but the council has confirmed that she will remain Labour’s candidate in the election.
The election was still set to go ahead on Thursday, May 22.
Ms Pritchard told the Observer that she has hired a solicitor and is confident that the “matter would be cleared up”.
A police spokesman said: “We can confirm we have received an allegation of alleged electoral irregularity. “We are in the early stages of an investigation, working closely with Hyndburn Borough Council to establish the circumstances.”
A council spokesman added: “A complaint regarding electoral irregularities in the Milnshaw ward has been received and is under investigation.
“We have taken advice from the Electoral Commission and the election in Milnshaw will run as normal in respect of the two candidates.
“We cannot comment on the details of the complaint as it remains under investigation.”
Mr Pritchard said: “I reported it to the council and Clare has now been suspended.”
The pair first stood against each other at county council elections last year with Ms Pritchard unseating her father as county councillor for Accrington North.
Speaking at the time Mr Pritchard said he felt ‘dishonoured’ by the result.
Earlier this month, Mr Pritchard said he was devastated that they were going head to head in the Milnshaw ward and that no other candidates would be standing.
At the time, Ms Pritchard told the Observer: “I don’t want to discuss what went before, I am just concerned with fighting the election.”
The Electoral Commission declined to comment at this stage.
Paul Thompson, Hyndburn UKIP chairman, said: “We will contest every vote in the election and if Clare wins we will be calling for a by-election.”
A Labour North West spokesman said: “The party has been made aware of a police investigation and therefore has suspended the candidate in question.
“The party will investigate this matter after the police investigation has concluded.”