Candidate's fury at rival's leaflet
PUBLISHED: 18:35 29 May 2008 | UPDATED: 11:09 03 July 2010
LEGAL action looks set to go ahead over an election leaflet which a former Labour councillor said smeared her personally and was “below the belt and outrageous.
LEGAL action looks set to go ahead over an election leaflet which a former Labour councillor said smeared her personally and was “below the belt and outrageous.”
Colleen Walker, former representative of Magdalen ward on Great Yarmouth Borough Council, warned a leaflet sent out by Tory agent James Dinsdale in support of candidate Patricia Page broke election law because it attacked her personally, not her policies.
On Tuesday, Mrs Walker said Yarmouth MP Tony Wright was dealing with the matter, adding: “as far as I know, the matter is with the police.”
The Tory group distributed 1,500 copies of the flyer around the ward prior to the local elections on May 4, which made allegations that the “Labour councillor” lived “miles away” from the ward in Belton and only showed her face at election time.
A series of unattributed quotes from “local residents” were also printed on the leaflet to support the claim the Labour candidate did not understand local issues.
Mrs Walker, who had represented the ward for 20 years, believed the leaflet swung opinion in Mrs Page's favour and contributed to her win by 816 votes to 752.
But she said only the width of the A143 dual carriageway separated her from her ward. And she accused the Tories of hypocrisy because Mr Dinsdale himself stood as a Tory candidate for Southtown and Cobholm ward despite living 57 miles away in Bury St Edmunds.
In the aftermath of the election Mr Dinsdale claimed the accusations were fair, although living outside the ward would not necessarily prevent a councillor form being a successful representative “if they worked hard.”
“I am confident the leaflet is 100pc legal and if Colleen wants to take legal action- if she wants to take it further- then that is one thing she is entitled to do under the Representation of the People Act 1983 (RPA).”
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Great Yarmouth Mercury. Click the link in the yellow box below for details.