POLICE are investigating a fraud allegation against one of the front-runners in Hampshire’s Police Commissioner election.
Tory Michael Mates has been accused of not putting his proper address on official forms in order to run for the post.
Under electoral law candidates need to demonstrate they are living in the area where they are standing.
Independent candidate Don Jerrard suggested Mr Mates had used a Winchester flat as an “address of convenience” when he actually lived near Chichester in West Sussex.
Conservative chiefs were quick to dispute the allegation, circulating documents showing the former Conservative MP is on the electoral roll in Winchester. Mr Mates said the comments are “completely untrue”.
The former government minister, who was MP for East Hampshire for 36 years until 2010, is among six candidates up for election for Hampshire Police Commissioner this Thursday.
Mr Mates said he had cleared his decision to rent a property in Winchester with the electoral registration office and it was "perfectly legal".
He said he could have applied to be a PCC in Sussex but his "heart was in Hampshire".
Mr Mates said: "I'm perfectly prepared to rent a flat, I'm prepared to make that investment for nine months - and quite a considerable investment - because I really want to do this job."
He said he had stayed in the flat on "a number of occasions" and would live there if he was voted into the post.
"We have taken the flat, we have put furniture in there, put some of our possessions in there - it is perfectly legal to have two residences," Mr Mates added.
The allegation is being investigated by Thames Valley Police. A spokesman said: “We can confirm that Hampshire Police referred an allegation of fraud to Thames Valley Police ahead of the election for the Police and Crime Commissioner in Hampshire and Isle of Wight. We are investigating the allegation and it would be inappropriate to comment further.”