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Tuesday 26th May 2020

Strictly voting scandal as boss at Emma Weymouth's stately home 'offers to pay for phone votes'

Even employees' dogs were urged to vote!

BBC show Strictly Come Dancing is facing a voting scandal after a boss at Viscountess Emma Weymouth's stately home reportedly offered to have viewers' phone votes reimbursed.

After Emma and her partner Aljaz Skorjanec landed a place in the bottom two alongside Dev Griffin and Dianne Buswell, staff at Longleat were allegedly urged to vote for the star.

And, if they kept their phone bills, they would be able to get their money back.

Longleat staff were urged to keep Emma and Aljaz in the competition (Credit: BBC)

According to The Sun, head of animal operations Darren Beasley said in a post shared on Facebook that he was "authorised" to pay for the votes by marketing chief James Bailey.

The newspaper reported that the post was dated October 18 – five days after Emma appeared in the dance off.

Read more: Catherine Tyldesley bans her husband from dancing with her as he almost causes her a serious injury

It stated: "So news just in… If anyone wants to help keep Lady Emma in Strictly on Saturday and does the phone votes then I am authorised to get James Bailey to pay for your call.

So keep your phone bill as proof – phoning this week will be free because Longleat will pay.

He added: "So keep your phone bill as proof, tell your partners, mums, dads, cousins, granny and the dog if he can dial that number for Lady Emma & Aljaz, phoning this week will be free because Longleat will pay."

Employees were told the cost of their phone votes for Emma would be reimbursed (Credit: BBC)

The message was reportedly sent to 109 members of staff employed by Emma's father-in-law, the Marquess of Bath.

Read more: Meghan Markle's half-sister brands her a hypocrite after the royal's comments in documentary

However, Longleat has said that the offer was not officially sanctioned, added that an employee had acted without permission and had apologised.

Lady Emma, her family and Aljaz had no knowledge of the offer and it was immediately removed once they became aware of it, the paper reports.

Strictly pro Aljaz knew nothing of the plea for votes (Credit: Splash News)

Longleat said: "No one sought payment from Longleat or any team member, so no one acted on the message and it had no effect on the actual votes."

The BBC said it takes "fairness" on the show "seriously" and action was taken as soon as the corporation was told about the post.

The news comes as many of the show's stars have been struck down with a bug ahead of this weekend's episode.

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