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Arrested UKIP councillor claims he was targeted by police after criticism

Deputy UKIP leader on Hampshire County Council said his arrest on suspicion of assault was "politically orchestrated to cause concern during this election period" after he criticised Hampshire Constabulary leadership

Cllr Tony Hooke was arrested on April 28 following a

A UKIP councillor from Yateley, who is accused of assaulting a protester at a party meeting last month, has claimed his arrest was "politically orchestrated" due to his recent criticism of Hampshire Constabulary.

Councillor Tony Hooke, 52, who is deputy leader of the party on Hampshire County Council, was held on suspicion of assault following an altercation with an anti-UKIP protester at Portsmouth Guildhall on April 28.

However, he told Get Hampshire that he believes his arrest is directly related to concerns he previously raised about the ability of Chief Constable Andy Marsh to run the force.

Cllr Hooke hosted a public meeting in Winchester on May 6 entitled Confidence in the Leadership of Hampshire Constabulary, in which he called for the county's police and crime commissioner (PCC) Simon Hayes to suspend Mr Marsh while the Operation Oregon investigation is ongoing into an alleged cover-up of sex abuse claims at the former Stanbridge Earls School, near Romsey, last year.

"This all follows on from that," Cllr Hooke said of his arrest. "There's no doubt in my mind that my arrest has been politically orchestrated to cause concern during this election period.

"There was absolutely no need to do this at this moment in time."

Last month's Portsmouth meeting was attended by party leader Nigel Farage to launch UKIP's European elections campaign in the south east.

Cllr Hooke, who represents Andover South on the county council, said he was accused of poking the protester twice in the chest, but claims he was the one assaulted after the man "screamed obscenities" at him, including calling him a Nazi.

"I told him that was uncalled for and my father had fought the Nazis in the Second World War," said Cllr Hooke.

"I've never been arrested before in my life, but within two weeks of making these comments about Hampshire Constabulary I am arrested on the most spurious of charges."

Cllr Hooke said CCTV footage proved his claim that he was the person assaulted and that police officers had been "most embarrassed" when he demanded to see it.

A Hampshire Constabulary spokesman said: "An allegation of assault was made to police following a UKIP public meeting at Portsmouth Guildhall on April 28.

"An arrest was made to allow officers to investigate the allegation. A 52-year-old man from Yateley has been bailed until 24 June, pending further enquiries.

"As this is an ongoing police investigation, it is not appropriate to comment further at this time."

 

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