Breaking news: General Election candidate barred from standing

THE Liberal Democrats Westminster hopeful for East Devon has been barred from standing in next year s General Election by the party s watchdog.

THE Liberal Democrats Westminster hopeful for East Devon has been barred from standing in next year's General Election by the party's watchdog.

Paul Buchanan was originally barred from standing as a councillor for two years by the Standards Board for England in July for breaching the code of conduct when he was deputy leader of Somerset County Council.

The two-year investigation by the Adjudication Panel for England centred on complaints made by SCC'S now-retired Chief Executive Alan Jones.

The APE imposed the sanction after Mr Buchanan accused Mr Jones of trying influence the outcome of the council leadership contest - he had challenged then leader Cllr Cathy Bakewell.

But he lost the election and, as a result, his place on the Council's executive and accused Mr Jones of political interference.

That letter was then by used Mr Jones as the basis of a further complaint accusing Mr Buchanan of bullying and intimidation.

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A spokesperson for Liberal Democrats head office in Westminster said: "Paul Buchanan was barred from standing for local government by the Standards Board for England.

"This triggered an automatic review of his status as a Liberal Democrat Candidate by an English Candidates' Committee panel.

"This review investigated whether the circumstances relating to the standards board judgment had led him to break the Liberal Democrat candidates' code of conduct.

"In this case, he was found to have done so, and he has therefore been removed from the list of approved candidates and deselected as the Lib Dem PPC for East Devon."

Mike Hinds, Chair of East Devon Liberal Democrats said: "We are sorry Paul is no longer able to stand as the PPC for East Devon and wish to thank him for all his hard work and effort in helping local residents.

"The local party had selected Paul for his enthusiasm, dedication and business experience.

"And as PPC, Paul proved himself to be a very energetic and intelligent campaigner, bringing many fresh ideas to the constituency.

"The local party will now continue to build on a great legacy of campaigning for the community and will shortly begin the process to select a new candidate who will continue to stand up for the people in East Devon.