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An election law thwarted a Portsmouth candidate’s bid to give away an FA Cup semi-final ticket to a deserving Pompey fan.

Alan Burnett wanted to find a pensioner who would be glad of his pass to the match against Liverpool.

After queuing to get it , he no longer needed it, since the Football Association invited him as city council leader to enjoy the fixture from a stand seat.

But after making his offer, he was horrified to discover it might have contravened election law under the 1983 Representation of People Act, which bars candidates from giving something of monetary value to a voter.

Dr Burnett, who stood for Portsmouth North for Labour, learned that he could have been accused of corrupt practice by ‘treating’ an elector to influence the way they would vote on April 9.

The punishment for the offence, which was widespread in the 19th century, is up to six months in jail, a fine, or both.

Dr Burnett later scrapped his plans to ask senior supporters to enter a free draw for the precious pass.

He later said that he had planned to give it to a friend who lived away from the city.