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SHAKEN BUT NOT STIRRED

PUBLISHED: 10:28 06 May 2010 | UPDATED: 11:41 23 August 2010

STILL FIGHTING: Labour’s candidate Kathryn Smith.

STILL FIGHTING: Labour's candidate Kathryn Smith.

GRAVESHAM S Labour Party candidate arrested on suspicion of drink driving suffered a fractured spine in the horror smash, we can reveal. Wearing a back brace, a shaken Kathryn Smith, 49, gave her first interview to the Reporter at the party s headquarter

GRAVESHAM'S Labour Party candidate arrested on suspicion of drink driving suffered a fractured spine in the horror smash, we can reveal.

Wearing a back brace, a shaken Kathryn Smith, 49, gave her first interview to the Reporter at the party's headquarters at the Overcliffe, in Gravesend.

But as voters went to the polls today the mother-of-one refused to speak about the circumstances surrounding her arrest and the crash despite having to report back to police in July after being released on bail.

Since the accident last Monday at about 10pm in University Way, Dartford, Ms Smith has split her time campaigning and attending hospital for treatment.

Doctors have prescribed her heavy painkillers and recommended she does not drive due to her medication.

She said: "The doctors have advised I rest but I will carry on fighting. I want to get on with the campaign, I have a great team around me and I will carry on fighting.

"I need to keep going until every last vote is in. The result of this election is incredibly important to the people of Gravesham."

Firefighters from Dartford spent around 40 minutes cutting her free from her Renault Laguna after she smashed in to a roundabout in Bob Dunn Way. After the rescue she was rushed to Darent Valley Hospital. Police said no other car was involved in the smash.

She discharged herself on Tuesday morning to carry on canvassing but the pain was so great she was admitted to hospital again on Thursday for scans which revealed the fracture.

Asked if she was still driving, she said: "I am on medication at the moment which prevents me from driving. Because of my injuries I am not looking to drive for a while."

But when pressed on the details of the collision, Ms Smith confirmed she has not been charged with drink driving but refused to answer any questions, adding: "I have been advised not to comment on the accident."

When asked if this was legal advice or party orders she maintained her silence only repeating that she was unable to comment.

She also refused to confirm whether she had undertaken a breathalyser test at the scene but did not deny it either.

In an e-mail sent to the Reporter just two days after the smash, she said she was "saving my strength for urgent campaign activities."

On the same day she wrote on Twitter: "Out in the town centre again today. Met some old friends and many new Labour supporters.

"People know that Labour is still on their side."

The Gravesham seat is a key marginal, which Tory candidate Adam Holloway took from Labour MP Chris Pond in 2005, by just 654 votes.

Until recently, Ms Smith was a director of the Co-operative Bank.

A spokesman for the Labour Party said: "Though no charges have been brought, these allegations are of a serious nature and are currently subject to investigation by Kent Police. As such, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time."

Police confirmed a 49-year-old woman from Welling was arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving on April 26 and has been granted bail until July 10.

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