Why are Tory politicians and members helping a rival candidate from a little known anti-Brexit party to stand against them at the Hounslow Council local elections - and should they be kicked out of by the Conservatives for doing so?

According to those involved, it's simply a matter of helping make sure there is better representation in local elections and nothing to do with political plotting.

However, the Labour Party rule book means "supporting another political party" would be an immediate explusion offence for its candidates.

And the apparent electoral loophole - where candidates' nomination papers can be signed by any registered elector, even those from another political party (which is not illegal under Electoral Commission rules) - has raised questions about political strategising and party allegiance.

Labour group leader in Hounslow, Steve Curran, said he believed his Conservative counterpart, Sam Hearn , should be kicked out of his party for signing the nomination papers of Polish Pride candidate Maria Zofia Kempinska, to stand against him in his own Chiswick Riverside ward.

Mr Curran said Mr Hearn would be disciplined if he was a member of the Labour Party and immediately expelled.

But Mr Hearn is not the only Tory to add his signature. Hounslow, Brentford and Isleworth Conservative chairman Julian Tanner has also put his name to the nomination forms and any possible disciplinary action against Mr Hearn would have to be ordered by him.

See Ealing's Polish prince go head-to-head with UKIP candidate

In order to stand in a given ward, candidates must get 10 registered electors to sign their nomination forms after they have been selected to stand by their own party.

Mr Curran, who is himself standing in Syon ward in the May 3 elections, said Mr Hearn's decision was "bizarre".

He said: "If that had been the Labour Party, he would be thrown out. In the 2014 elections a similar thing happened in the Labour Party and the candidate was kicked out.

"If I was one of the other two Tory councillors in the ward I would be going nuts. How can you trust him? How can you trust someone that doesn't even support his own party?"

Hounslow Council, Steve Curran (left) and Sam Hearn
Steve Curran (left) and Sam Hearn

But Mr Hearn said if Mr Curran opposed the nomination "it was his problem".

He said: "Signing nomination forms is just to say you know who they are and know their name. With such a low turnout and people saying they don't feel represented in local elections, the more people who run, the better.

"I am more for giving people a voice and if there are people in my ward who want to vote for a 'Remain' party, I don't have a problem with them doing that."

Polish Pride - or Polska Duma - is a staunchly 'Remain' party set up earlier this year by entrepreneur Prince Janek Zylinski , who is fielding candidates in many London boroughs to campaign against Brexit and stand up for minority groups.

But Mr Hearn denies he acted in order to rebel against his own party's views on Brexit and also said it was not an attempt to divide opposition votes against the beleaguered Hounslow Conservatives and thereby prevent Labour gaining more ground.

He said he signed the nomination papers along with his wife and son because he knows the candidate and she needed to find a nominee before the deadline.

Prince Janek Zylinski set up Polska Duma

A spokesperson for the central Conservative Party said the local party would have to determine whether any breach of rules or protocol had taken place.

A spokesperson for Hounslow Council said it was not a breach of election rules, while the Polska Duma party was unavailable for comment.

Electoral Commission guidance on the matter can be read online .

The full list of candidates standing in Hounslow Council wards, and their nominees, can be found here .

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