A candidate from the Green party and his mother were taken into custody for allegedly stalking their Conservative MP in the area.
48-year-old Chris Hallam and his 76-year-old mother, Christine, who used to be teachers in Buxton, Derbyshire, were taken into custody in September following accusations from High Peak MP Robert Largan of harassment and stalking.
The two individuals are currently released on bail and have been prohibited from approaching him or three of his employees within a distance of 50 metres. They are also not allowed to be within five metres of his office.
In May, Chris Hallam ran as a candidate for the Green party in the High Peak borough council elections. However, he was defeated by a candidate from the Labour party and another from the Conservative party.
He serves as the Green party campaign coordinator for High Peak and states that he is unable to fulfill his responsibilities due to the strict bail conditions following his arrest.
The Hallams claim that their sole wrongdoing was attending every one of Largan’s district gatherings, despite being blocked by the MP on Facebook. They simply wanted to inquire about matters affecting their community and the country.
In September, Largan reported the Hallams to the authorities. This came after sending them a letter on July 7th instructing them to stop their actions. The letter stated that their continuous behavior over the past three months, such as attending constituency meetings in High Peak despite being asked not to and causing disruptions with aggressive behavior, was not acceptable.
The correspondence stated that the conduct had persisted “despite being advised by Derbyshire police to not physically attend my office hours.”
Largan wrote a directive instructing them to cease all such activities immediately, citing their behavior as the cause of repeated instances of harassment, alarm, and distress to himself and his staff.
He cautioned them that he may involve law enforcement if they disregarded the letter. He stated that they could address concerns regarding constituency matters by sending a letter or emailing him.
Hallam confessed that he and his mother disregarded the letter and went to meet with Largan at a Morrison’s supermarket branch in September. Upon arrival, he claimed that two PCSOs and security guards from Morrison’s prevented them from talking to the MP.
According to a post on social media by Hallam, he attempted to attend a surgery on September 15, outside of Largan’s office in Whaley Bridge. However, the surgery was cancelled due to security concerns, as stated on a sign posted on the door.
Hallam reported that he was taken into custody a couple of days later, specifically on September 19th. He was then placed in a police holding cell and questioned for a duration of three hours before being released on bail.
In reaction, his mother made the decision to personally visit Largan, publicly announcing on social media her intention to attend a procedure in New Mills. Hallam stated, “She intended to inquire about the situation.”
The next day, she was also taken into custody for allegedly harassing Largan. She was released on bail with the same terms. They are under suspicion of stalking the MP, which includes recording him, trailing him to his vehicle, and causing a disturbance by yelling at him and his team during office hours, causing other constituents to leave.
Hallam acknowledges that he used to secretly record their meetings, which he would then condense on his Facebook page. He also openly recorded a meeting once using a GoPro bodycam.
Hallam informed the Guardian that he intends to take legal action against Largan, citing discrimination due to political ideology. “My mother and I belong to different parties than him, and it is clear that he is targeting us because our political views do not align with his,” he stated.
He maintains that he is not guilty of any wrongdoing, and is currently awaiting a decision on whether he will face charges. In the meantime, he is requesting for the bail conditions to be lifted so that he can continue his campaign work for the Green party.
Hallam, the campaign coordinator for the High Peak Green party, stated that limiting his attendance at various events would greatly harm the local democratic process.
A representative from Largan’s office stated that individuals from all political beliefs are invited to attend Mr. Largan’s weekly sessions for assistance and guidance. In fact, members of the Green party have previously attended these sessions and are always welcome to do so.
“Since his election, Mr. Largan has made it his priority to provide exceptional service to his constituents. He has personally handled over 50,000 individual cases on behalf of the local community and continues to hold weekly help and advice sessions, without requiring appointments, even in the aftermath of Sir David Amess’ tragic murder, despite security concerns.”
This unfortunate situation is not related to political parties and solely involves a continuous and unpleasant form of harassment.
The Green party chose not to provide a statement.
Authorities in Derbyshire have reported that a male in his 40s and a female in her 70s have been apprehended on suspicion of stalking. The two individuals have been released on bail as the investigation remains ongoing.