September 2 2014 Latest news:
By Matthew Gooding
Thursday, May 22, 2014
A UKIP candidate’s home has been targeted in the run-up to elections being held today (Thursday)
Mark Hughes, who is chairman of UKIP’s North Hertfordshire branch, and is standing for the party in today’s European Parliament, North Herts District Council and Royston Town Council elections, has had paint daubed on a sign outside his home in Green Drift, Royston.
The Crow was alerted last Thursday when a passer-by spotted that a UKIP poster outside Mr Hughes’ home had been defaced, with ‘racist’ written across it in white paint.
And the former mayor of Royston confirmed it was one of several incidents which had taken place in the last week, all of which he has reported to the police.
Mr Hughes said: “I’ve been involved in local politics for 30 years, and what I’ve seen in the last 10 days has showed me the ugly side of politics. I’ve never experienced that in Royston before and I didn’t expect to see it.
“We’ve always had different parties with different view points, and people will agree with what I stand for or they won’t, but this behaviour isn’t right.”
Last week, a UKIP candidate in East London, Gerard Batten, had a brick thrown through the window of his home, and Mr Hughes said he is worried for the safety of his family.
“These people are coming onto my property under the cover of darkness, and I’d challenge anyone not to be concerned about their family in that situation,” he said.
“The police have been fantastic and given us a lot of help and advice. I want everyone to use their vote on Thursday, and I’m happy to discuss what I stand for with anyone. But this isn’t part of the democratic process.”
Mr Hughes is a former member of the Conservative party, and switched to UKIP in December 2012. He stood unsuccessfully in the Hertfordshire County Council elections last year, finishing second behind Cllr Fiona Hill.
A spokesman for Hertfordshire police said: “We received a report that an election sign had been daubed with an offensive comment. Upon investigation it emerged that the comment could be wiped away leaving no lasting trace or damage. The matter has been closed.”
Polling stations across the area wil remain open until 10pm tonight, before an election count is held tomorrow (Friday). Follow @roystoncrow on Twitter for the results as they come in.