Accusations fly as Havant election rivals go on the attack

HEATING UP Conservative candidate Alan Mark
HEATING UP Conservative candidate Alan Mark
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THE election campaign in Havant has turned nasty with serious allegations being flung at the Conservative candidate over his CV.

Tory Alan Mak is hoping to take over the safe Conservative seat from David Willetts, who is retiring after 23 years.

The News revealed earlier this week how, at a News hustings event, Ukip candidate John Perry accused Mr Mak of lying on the CV that was given out to voters at his primary selection in Havant in October.

Mr Mak has now hit back denying the claims following a flurry of further accusations levelled at him on Twitter and in internet blogs – including Mr Perry’s.

Mr Mak, a former City solicitor and president of a children’s charity, has rebutted claims which include that he:

- Published quotes which appeared to be taken directly from the Daily Telegraph and influential Conservative blog Conservative Home when they were not.

- Resigned as entertainments officer at the University of Cambridge after faking a £100 expenses invoice.

- Exaggerated his success at local elections.

- Has over-egged his business accomplishments.

The left wing Political Scrapbook blog claims investments made by Mr Mak in business start-ups are worth just 0.15 per cent of the companies.

Mr Perry’s website alleges: ‘You would expect Spirepoint Global Limited to have global connections, but no, this company was established by Mr Mak in March 2013 with himself as sole director and for which no financial records are available.’

Mr Mak responded swiftly to the claims, which he said were wrong.

He said: ‘John Perry is incorrect. Mr Perry claims on his website that both Spirepoint Global Limited and Fitzgerald Partners were set up in March 2013.

‘In fact, both companies were set up a year later, in March 2014.

‘Therefore the accounting year end for both companies is March 2015.

‘I have nine months after the end of each accounting year end to submit accounts for both businesses to Companies House, so I have until December 2015 to file accounts, which I will do. I am in total compliance with the law.’

He added: ‘John Perry has resorted to dirty tricks because he is losing the arguments and his campaign is failing.

‘His nasty, personal attacks on me at the News’ hustings on Monday night were rightly shouted down by residents.

‘Political Scrapbook is a Labour-supporting gossip blog that regularly attacks Conservative MPs and candidates, so it is no surprise they are working with Perry to attack me.

‘None of Perry’s smears, which he has widely circulated, are correct.

‘Local residents don’t want Perry’s dirty tricks. My campaign is positive and focuses on building a secure and prosperous future for residents, not petty politics. I won’t be distracted from residents’ priorities.’

As well as his work with the charity Magic Breakfast, which provides a hot meal to 17,000 school children each day, Mr Mak is the founder of the Young Professionals branch of the Royal British Legion.

Mr Perry said: ‘I am basing my campaign on honesty and integrity.

‘When I was first given a copy of Alan Mak’s CV I thought, “Gosh, this is very impressive’. And I give him credit for his charity work. But if I had voted for him at the primary on the basis of that CV I’d be livid now.

‘He certainly did not unseat anyone in Tower Hamlets because he wasn’t elected. His share of the vote decreased from 2010 to 2014. ‘His so-called quotes from the Telegraph and Conservative Home are, at best, misleading.’

Mr Mak provided The News with an email from his accountants confirming all filings due to Companies House and HMRC are up to date.

Alan Mak’s response to The News

In 2003, while at Cambridge, you were accused of falsifying an expenses invoice and resigned as entertainments officer. What is your comment on this?

The allegations made 12 years ago by my opponent during a student election in a student newspaper are untrue.

I made an honest mistake, which I apologised for at the time and which was accepted and the matter was closed.

Your CV includes quotes which claim to be from the Daily Telegraph and Conservative Home.

What date were these comments published and who were they authored by?

When we were asked to submit CVs, I assumed that the readership would just be the local Conservative Party’s selection committee.

The testimonials were provided by senior individuals from those organisations in their personal capacities, verbally, for me to use in my CV. This was made clear by me to Havant Conservatives rather than stated on the CV due to space limitations, and this explanation was accepted.

The individuals concerned don’t want their names disclosed.

Again, in your CV, you say you ‘unseated’ the Lib Dem group leader in Bethnal Green local elections.

Can you substantiate this please? In 2010 you polled 445 (3.3 per cent) votes and in 2014, 460 (2.7 per cent) – a small share of the vote and you were not elected in either.

Candidates’ summary CVs are confidential, internal Party documents intended to provide a snapshot only for the local Conservative Party’s selection committee, with the intention that the applicant provide fuller details in person when interviewed if asked.

I stood as a local council candidate over two election cycles (in 2010 and again in 2014) as part of an energetic Conservative campaign in east London to reduce the Lib Dem group leader’s majority (and reduce the overall Lib Dem presence) by drawing votes away from the Lib Dems.

This led to a weakening of the Lib Dems’ vote share in the ward over successive elections, which led to her ultimately vacating her seat.

The 2010 and 2014 elections were ‘all out elections’, with three Conservatives standing per ward in a largely Labour area, hence I (and the other Conservative candidates) only polled typically small but impactful vote shares. These were largely votes that would have gone to the Lib Dems

In 2002, the Lib Dems held all three seats in the ward; in 2006, they had two seats, having lost one; in 2010, they were down to just one seat; and in 2014, they had zero seats in the ward, which was our aim. I describe this process, in the limited available space, as ‘unseating’.

I was clear when asked by Havant Conservatives that I was not elected as a councillor on either occasion (that wasn’t my aim), and that I did not take the council seat of the Lib Dem group leader.

I cited this example only as an example of my track record of energetic and successful campaigning, which was accepted.

You have stated publicly that you are a successful businessman and you have invested in a number of start-ups. Please provide details of these start ups and your businesses.

My businesses are Spirepoint Global Limited and Fitzgerald Partners Limited, both UK-registered private limited companies.

My start-up investments are in PaperlessReceipts (a business that provides online receipts and till technology), HotSquash (a women’s clothing manufacturer), and (an online marketplace selling goods from independent shops).