The Conservatives clearly got a little rattled in Rayleigh Central Ward in the last few days of the campaign. They put out a leaflet which said :
“You may remember that with your help Conservatives overturned council officers proposals to build 1800 houses in Rayleigh, where were the Lib Dems then ?”
The short answer is that we were leading the campaign against the 1800 figure. Just about the only Tory helping in this was Tony Humphries.
But what’s going on here? If this leaflet were true it would mean that the Conservative group, with it’s massive majority, had lost control of its own council staff. It would mean that the Council had spent a lot of money, and the public had spent a lot of time, on a consultation which the Tories hadn’t voted for.
But that isn’t true. The consultation was voted through by Conservative councillors. It was a proper consultation, agreed by the Tories, which the Lib Dems opposed.
This leaflet is beyond belief, not only is it a complete fabrication of the truth it is shows how low the Tories will stoop to ensure that they do not lose. If we do not get an apology from the leader of the council I will leaflet every house in Central Ward with the truth and I have documentary evidence to back up my claim, including numerous exchanges of letters between myself and Mark Francois and large amounts of press cuttings from the Echo which I will scan and include in the leaflet.
It is up to you, we either get a public apology or Central ward will get the TRUTH. And in doing so it will become knowledge to everyone who voted Tory. This is a genuine pledge.
Chris is there an ethics committee in local government or can they fabricate the truth and still not be brought to book. Do you have one of the leaflets. Over the last 18 months there have been many Tory leaflet that have been factually incorrect and it is about time someone stood up to them. I am now going to find out what options are open. Not only are they abusing their position by making these statements, they are also disrespecting their residents by feeding them this rubbish.
Mike, I’ve got a copy of the leaflet – I will try to drop it round to you tomorrow night.
Thanks Chris, this will go further. The Conservatives cannot be allowed to continue to be so unethical. I am sure not all Conservatives are like this but we do have more than our fair share in RDC.
I have thought about this and maybe we should have penalties in line with the Financial Markets. If a Financial Institution makes false claims it gets fined, very heavily by the Financial Services Authority. Now if a political party makes false claims about the opposition it wins an election! More than this it claims a landslide in the elections but forgets to include why it won by a landslide. This is because of the false claims made during the election. Surely they should have an authority like the FSA overseeing them. This would mean any party could not get away with what the Tories just have.
Ethically, Tony Humphries should resign his seat and put it up for challenge again, but of course he wont ….
My understanding is that under the law you can say just about anything you like about another party during the elections – it doesn’t have to be true, and the courts aren’t interested.
Occasionally action is taken in the courts over something said in a defamatory way about a particular candidate If you do a Google search for “Miranda Grell” you will find the case of a Labour candidate who was found guilty of of making false statements- very nasty false statements – contrary to the Representation of the People Act 1983.
It is good that Simon had the decency to apologise however the remark should not have been made in the first place. For the second point law or no law it shows a complete lack of ethics and decency on the Conservatives to come out with such comments. It was cheating and I will do as I have promised if we do not get an apology. I think the residents of Central Ward are owed an explanation and get to see what kind of party they have elected.
An apology after their victory is meaningless. Whatever we do now is pointless BUT I’m sure the Echo would love the headline?!!
It wouldn’t be pointless, it would be demonstrating to Central ward what a worthless bunch of losers those who actually wrote the leaflet are. They must really have been desparate.
I need to talk to you regarding the cost of printing 2000 leaflets.
Hi Mike – I do know what you mean but feel this is too late. SUCH a shame we didn’t know in time to do the leaflet in the day or so before the election. Anything we do now re this will be forgotten before we compete for the ward again. I still think using the press is probbaly the option that will hurt them the most. Good Luck with it regardless.