Cllrs Priest and Gilbey: Police investigation into electoral law breach

The election material of the Shanklin councillors has been investigated and reviewed by senior police within Gold Command. It’s been found there “certainly has been a breach” of electoral law.

richard priest and jon gilbey

Cllrs Richard Priest and Jon Gilbey have this week been found by a police investigation to have breached electoral law.

The investigation, carried out by Hampshire Constabulary, arose after it was discovered that Cllrs Richard Priest (Shanklin South ward candidate) and Jonathan Gilbey (Shanklin Central ward candidate), as well as John Fleming (Lake South ward candidate), had distributed leaflets and posters with an inaccurate imprint.

This happened not once, but twice (see detail).

Lack of transparency
To ensure transparency about who is campaigning, electoral law states that any printed campaign material must include the printer’s name and address, as well as the agent’s name and address and who they are promoting.

In this case, leaflets and posters had been distributed without details of who had printed the material.

The breach was thoroughly investigated and reviewed by senior police within Gold Command and Hampshire Constabulary’s force-wide Tactical lead and found there “certainly has been a breach”.

Avoiding scrutiny
Some might consider this a trivial matter, but where election leaflets have been printed has become a talking point on the Isle of Wight, with some residents wanting to see candidates supporting local businesses.

For example, in Ryde, Cllr Wayne Whittle has been criticised for not supporting local business after having his leaflets printed on the mainland. Labour and the Greens have both confirmed their election material has been printed on the Island.

David Pugh, who reported the breach, told OnTheWight,

“It only took a cursory glance at the relevant legislation to realise that Cllrs Priest and Gilbey were committing an electoral offence by failing to include the name and address of the printer on their election material.

“Given that other parties and candidates were subject to public scrutiny for their choice of printers (made possible because of the legal requirement for the imprint), I felt that it was improper for Cllrs Priest and Gilbey to have effectively exempted themselves from this scrutiny by not complying with the statutory imprint obligations.”

Wrong not once, but twice
Following informal advice being given to the candidates on Tuesday afternoon by the Returning Officer of the Isle of Wight council, a revised leaflet was uploaded to their campaign Website that evening.

Unfortunately for the candidates and their Agent, they managed to get the imprint wrong once again. This time suggesting it had been printed at an address in Newport (this was actually the address of the designer not the printer).

It was only when police formally intervened on Wednesday that Cllrs Priest and Gilbey finally managed to get the imprint right, revealing they’d used a printer based in Rotherham, South Yorkshire.

Click on image to see larger version
The three versions of Priest and Gilbey election imprint

Action by police
Police say they have secured a commitment from Cllrs Priest, Gilbey and Fleming to destroy their existing leaflets and issue a formal apology for the leaflets which have already been distributed.

An apology can now be found on their Website.

Their agent, Keith Fagan, was also formally served an advisory letter by Hampshire Constabulary.

Agent apologises
Speaking this afternoon, Mr Fagan issued a statement to “clarify and confirm, and apologise for any unintended misunderstanding or confusion caused by the imprint on the election leaflets of prospective councillors Jon Gilbey, Richard Priest and John Fleming”.

He said,

“We commissioned a design and print service on the Island, but did not appreciate the actual printing was undertaken off Island, once made aware of this we corrected the imprint and reissued.”

Pugh: Residents believed leaflets printed on the Island
David Pugh, who lost his seat to Richard Priest in the 2013 local election by ten votes, went on to say,

“I have recently been contacted by a number of Shanklin residents who indicated that they decided to vote for Cllrs Gilbey and Priest on the basis that they believed their leaflets to have been printed on the Isle of Wight – which is the conclusion they reached after seeing the published imprint.

“These voters indicated that they would be much less likely to vote for candidates who printed their election literature on the mainland, given that this was (in their view) not supportive of local businesses, and said that a number of other voters they knew had reached a similar view.”

He added,

“These are not amateur campaigners who can play the ignorance card; they are seasoned local politicians / campaigners who should know better, especially when such shortcomings are brought to their attention – but they still fail to act in a straightforward manner, instead further obfuscating in an attempt to cover their tracks.”

Comment from the candidates
OnTheWight emailed Priest, Gilbey and Fleming this afternoon and invited them to comment but at time of publishing we’d not heard back.

We were keen to also find out how Cllrs Priest and Gilbey had been responsible for “helped secure £6m+ grant for social care and £9m+ transport grant for the Island” as quoted at the bottom of their most recent flyer.

We’re waiting with baited breath for the answer to that one.

Image: © Richard Priest and Jon Gilbey

Thursday, 27th April, 2017 6:07pm



Filed under: Election, Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Lake, Police, Politics, Shanklin, Top story

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below must comply with the Commenting 'House Rules' and are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

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50 Comments on "Cllrs Priest and Gilbey: Police investigation into electoral law breach"

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Seriously? This is ridiculous. It looks like a bitter attempt to discredit someone and waste of police resources. How long has David Pugh been scrutinising details of their movements and actions to find this innocuous mistake. Small minded abd vengeful. And it says more about him than it does about either candidate.

Andrew Clarke

Massive up arrow on this comment!


Here here both councillors Priest and Gilbey have worked so hard for Shanklin and it’s residents, they both have my full support.

I.o.w bull $**!
I clicked on this article thinking wow they must of done something pretty bad …. then as I read this I realise how ridiculous it actually was . This whole article is a polictical move to try and get one up. What a immature game to play. If this is now the most interesting news on the iow I don’t want to read this page anymore. Therefore… Read more »
Andrew clarke

Totally agree up arrow again

retired hack

Pugh v Priest and Gilbey. Hmm… Four years ago we thought we knew what the difference was between them, did we not?
There are alternative, non-Conservative, candidates available in Shanklin and Lake. And that’s if we overlook (a policy I reccommend) the Sandown Independents, aka the Blezzard Party, aka the Vicar of Bray Party, which appears to have disapparated and re-apparated in Lake North.

Mason Watch

Cue music from Jaws……. The Boy Pugh is back in the water and proving that the voters decision to get rid of him still remains a good one. Give it a rest son, nobody cares what you think……


The boy David seems to be channeling the insufferable Blair. It’s time they both are now totally redundant.


That should read ‘ they both should realise ….’etc

I do not believe it

I thought there was a nasty whiff in the air at low water this evening and I put it down to rotting seaweed off East Cowes. Not so it now transpires.
It seems that the whiff of a rotting Pugh has once again pervaded the island. To repeat my election mantra of 2013:-
Punish Pugh!
Jilt Giles!
Sink Scoccia!


Senior police investigating? Nothing more important to do? Really?

Matt Edmunds

Oddly, Conservative David Pugh forgets to mention that all the Tory leaflets were printed on the mainland.

Doubting Thomas

Is this all that can be said about the Judus, where a leaflet is printed!

What about the disastrous partnership between Whitehouse and himself over education that has led to many of the island disasters.


Does it really matter? I suppose it does.

The legislation on this seems relatively straight forward. I don’t understand why they couldn’t simply comply with it.

Was this a deliberate attempt to mislead? It would be difficult not to reach that conclusion. Their track record is not one of playing a straight bat.

It’s a bit like a job application, the first thing HR does is check that people have complied with what’s been requested, if the applicant hasn’t bothered to ensure they’ve complied the application is automatically filed under B as its’s a strong indicator that they won’t be bothered to make any effort to do the job properly. If they are so inept as to breach rules that… Read more »
Andrew Green
As the prospective Independent candidate for Shanklin South & Luccombe I am very disappointed that any candidate would have their literature printed off the Isle of Wight. Indeed within my own leaflet (printed in Shanklin) I highlight: ‘A person should always be measured by their deeds and not their words. If a prospective candidate is 100% for the IoW then check their literature is printed on the… Read more »
I don’t believe that councillors Priest and Gilbey would have been done purposely and to be honest who even reads the imprint? Although, I have just had the conservative candidate Chris Quirk’s leaflet delivered and funnily enough that wasn’t printed on the island either, does that mean conservative councillors don’t support island businesses? As far as I’m concerned, councillors Priest and Gilbey have done a great deal… Read more »
Andrew Clarke

Massive up arrow on this comment


Lot of new posters have magically appeared to defend the Shanklin turncoats. Funny that.

I think the imprint, although a serious thing, is the least of their problems.

These are so-called ‘independents’ who were elected last time as *anti-tory* candidates who then sided with and enabled a tory administration. They have no principles whatsoever and cannot be trusted.

End. Of. Story.

Andrew Clarke
New posters have appeared due to this article being one of importance to the residents of Shanklin. (I have recently become a poster due to this issue). The 2 Cllrs are not turncoats, and if you think this to be true then you are obviously wearing blinkers, if they were in the Tories pockets then why would the Tories have candidates running against them? – Some people… Read more »
Andrew Clarke
Wow what a surprise David Pugh is causing trouble again, 4 years of being bitter must surely hurt! I understand that this may be considered a serious breach of the election rules, but are all prospective candidates being subjected to the same public scrutiny? I severely doubt that, for the reasons above! Picking up on the printing on the island issue, having read the 2 conservative Shanklin… Read more »

Of course there should be equal scrutiny. I suggest you report the offending leaflets asap.

Terry Carpenter
David Pugh seems to be so busy trying to settle old scores,that he has let down his own Conservative Candidates: Michael Beston, Shanklin Central and Chris Quirk, Shanklin South. If as David Pugh points out, Jon Gilbey and Richard Priest are likely to receive a reduced vote for having their leaflets printed off the Isle of Wight, so will both of his own candidates.To the best of… Read more »
Andrew Clarke

Massive up arrow Terry

I think you are missing the point. Candidates are free to print their material where they like, however it is a legal requirement to state on the material where it is printed, and for the content to be factual. Voters can then make up their own minds if they think it matters. But, the law is quite clear, and giving misleading information is illegal. The conservative candidates… Read more »
Andrew Clarke

But your recent leaflet doesn’t state where it was printed?

So Which one of your leaflets was printed on the island, and where was it printed?

Andrew Clarke

Also I’m sure one of your leaflets makes reference to ‘people not politics’ how can this be stated when you are a member of a political party? – is this not misleading to voters?

retired hack

Ah yes, Beardsalls. I’m sure there used to be a family connection there, somewhere…

Andrew Clarke
No answers to my questions Chris? – What a surprise more underhanded election techniques from the tories, your attempt at mud slinging will not fool the residents of Shankkin South and Central, we will continue to support Richard and Jon. Also your leaflet makes no reference to you being deputy Mayor of Shanklin for a number of years, but never mayor, I thought once you became deputy… Read more »
AC: There’s a delicious irony here. The protocol for Chairman of the (iow) council is that the deputy steps up after the year in office of the full chairman. As i posted here recently, the situation arose where the Chairman, Cllr Chapman *refused* to follow protocol and instead of allowing the deputy chairman, Cllr pearcey wilcox to take over, decided he wanted to continue for another year… Read more »
Andrew Clarke
Ah Cllr Jordan, I thought this article looked a bit blank without your usual long winded pieces, I am so glad you have decided to add your thoughts on this matter. So referring to your point of deputies succeeding their senior’s position, I appreciate your point re the IOW chairman position, I understand that this was not the correct way the process should have happened, however I… Read more »

Why are you supporting the appalling AET in Sandown? Is that on your leaflet?


This Article is just laughable!! People have to much time on there hands and are very bitter.

Andrew clarke

Up arrow

retired hack

Oldbag and 1.o.w bull $**!: I can see how Mr Pugh’s behaviour could be viewed as “ridiculous” and “laughable”. What I find more difficult to understand is how a news article pointing out that police have become involved in this spat could be viewed as either ridiculous or laughable.
Stick up for your chosen candidate/s by all means, but don’t shoot the messenger.
Up arrow, anyone?

Down arrow, they were always going to try and find some small to go against as they have nothing else against them! All they have done for shanklin!! What did Pugh do? Not a lot and if he was that amazing and done so much why has he lost people’s vote in the past? Your only doing the same by sticking by your vote? People have options?… Read more »
Andrew clarke
This article, which I presume has come directly from Mr Pugh, is a clear political smoke screen to mask the recent news of Sandown Bays failings, the school which was performing well before Mr Pugh decided to restructure the Island’s school system and move it to a 2 tier system, and remove the school from the councils responsibility, and instead be managed by the highly unsuccessful AET… Read more »

That’s a nice picture of Cllr.Gilbey he’s quite handsome, shame I’m not 30 years younger!!!

Mrs Retired Hack

Haha, I remember your mantra from 2013 (and how impressed I was when it all came true!). Any predictions for this time??

I do not believe it

Regrettably, Mrs Retired Hack, my crystal ball is currently very cloudy because of a plethora of confusing and clashing images, including:-
A dead sheep (our current MP)
Kim Jong Un
Dianne Abbot
Et al
Valid predictions are therefore beyond my capabilities.

Not the only ones I hear, look in last week’s IWCP, and unauthorised boards on public land ! What are things coming to ? Wonder what will happen today at 4pm at the Tory ‘special’ meeting for a ‘show of support’ for Mr Turner. The masses have no say according to Ian Ward Chair of IWCA letter to the membership. Dear Members, There have been questions here… Read more »

To all the apostrophe prefects and pedants out there, AC and Iow bull to mention but a few. If all you have to worry about in this election is one OAP with dodgy grammar I’m sorry, for I expressed an opinion which was mine.Should grammar preclude me from voting?


The rules are the rules . If these two cannot follow such a simple rule in printing their election material why should the electorate trust them to follow the rules of office if elected.


This is the point. I’ve never been involved in politics beyond voting, but even I knew this rule.

Andrew Clarke
It’s also extremely worrying to see that Mr Pugh went to the same ‘alternative facts’ school as Donald Trump, he has spoken to voters that have ‘indicated that they would be less likely to vote for candidates who printed their election material on the mainland’, I presume by this he means that he spoken to a number of Shanklin Conservative club members who have said what they… Read more »

Are these two really that thick they don’t deserve to stand for election and I say this through gritted teeth well done to David Pugh for bringing this to the relevant Police department.Chuck them out not to be trusted.

This is just politics e.g. “Your worse than me” I voted for Priest at the last election and I have to say he was doing a good job with education then when Gilbert had thrown his teddy out of his prom and resigned Priest out of loyalty followed nothing to do with him eating at Gilbert’s cafe every day! now they have become the Laurel and Hardy… Read more »
Andrew Clarke
The fact that Richard regularly eats at Jon’s cafe has nothing to do with the issue, they have been friends for 25 years, their kids went to school together, they have both been volunteering at Shanklin Youth Club for over 15 years. They are not the Laurel and Hardy, they are straight honest people, who have the best interest of Shanklin in their minds. They have been… Read more »
iow bull$**&

Please ensure your grammar is correct before commenting. ‘You’re’ worse than me. I think you mean Pram.


The past participle of mean is ‘meant’ and ‘Pram’ should not be capitalised.