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Benefit fraud suspect councillor says he is 'strong candidate' for re-election
A Kingston council candidate who is being prosecuted for alleged benefit fraud has declined to say what he is telling voters on the doorstep about his troubles.
Tim Dennen described himself as a “strong candidate” for re-election saying he will talk about litter, speeding cars and dog poo.
He will appear at Lavender Hill Magistrates’ Court on May 13 – nine days before voters go to the polls on May 22.
The independent Canbury ward councillor, who quit the Liberal Democrats before the allegations first came to light in 2012, is accused of making false statements and failing to notify Kingston Council of changes in his circumstances between 2008 and 2010.
If he wins, he may have to step down if found guilty.
Mr Dennen said: “I’m a strong candidate for the borough, and not being tied to any political party puts me in a much stronger position.
“I don’t have to agree to things I don’t necessarily agree with just because the party says so.
“I have the freedom to say exactly how I feel.”
Mr Dennen said he would be publishing his manifesto “within the next seven days”, and told the said it focussed heavily on environmental issues.
He said: "It’s really about people in my area being aware they are in a conservation area, and there are certain stipulations around that that people don’t know about.
"Speeding cars, litter, dog poo – these are all issues in Canbury."
When asked about the benefit fraud charges, he declined to comment.
He said: “I’m getting out there, I’m door knocking, and that’s all I’m going to say."
Mr Dennen was first elected as a Liberal Democrat member in 2010, with 2,469 votes – more than any other candidate in Canbury.
In April 2012, he split from the Lib Dems, claiming he was unhappy with the direction the party was headed.
Two months later, he was elected chairman of the Kingston neighbourhood committee, only to resign a week later.
It was then announced in July that his benefit claims were under investigation by Kingston Council, but it took the authority almost two years to bring a prosecution.
For more election coverage visit www.surreycomet.co.uk/news/election2014
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