NO ACTION is to be taken against Southampton’s Conservative leader, following an allegation of electoral fraud.

Hampshire Police confirmed that it had found that no offence had been committed following an investigation after pens with “Vote Jeremy Moulton for Freemantle” were delivered to residents in the ward ahead of the city council elections tomorrow.

A police spokesperson said this morning: “Following consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service, we have concluded that no offences have been committed so we will not be investigating any further. This has been communicated to those involved.”

Cllr Moulton told the Echo yesterday that he had received no contact since the force confirmed the investigation last Friday.

However, following the news this morning, he added: “I am pleased that the matter is closed.

“The whole episode has been very distressing. It was clearly a politically motivated attack days before my re-election. It ‎was a blatant attempt to smear me with false allegations of bribery. Having worked hard for 16 years as a local councillor in Freemantle and facing a tight contest, this was deeply upsetting.

“The allegation was clearly ridiculous from the start and has been no doubt been a total waste of police resources."

As reported, the complaint was made by fellow Freemantle candidate Ed Thompson, who said he wanted to make sure all prospective councillors were competing on a “level playing field”.

Initially raised by the Viva Europa member as an enquiry with Southampton’s returning officer Mark Heath, he was advised that this is a grey area and that potentially making gifts in this way could be considered as ‘treating’ – and may potentially break rules under the Representation of the People Act 1983.

Southampton residents will go to the polls tomorrow (May 3) from 7am. Sixteen seats are up for election.