iFAQ: Whose leaflet isn’t it anyway?

The local election campaign in Medway is now properly underway, with a surge in activity across Medway from a wide range of candidates and parties. One of the most striking things early in the campaign was this leaflet being distributed throughout Watling ward, not in favour of any one party, but solely against Conservative candidate Andrew Lawrence.

Andrew Lawrence has since responded to the leaflet via his blog. We reached out to all Medway parties that took part in the 2015 elections and those taking part in this one to get their views on the leaflet, and if they fancied admitting being behind it. Well, it was worth a shot.

As usual, we told all parties that we would publish their responses entirely unedited. They are published below in the order they were received.

1. Can you confirm that your party had no role in the distribution of this leaflet?

No, TUSC had nothing to do with it either in terms of content or distribution
Chas Berry, Medway TUSC

Ukip would make it clear,  it is totally unacceptable to be part of any campaign to distribute such literature.
Cllr Roy Freshwater, Medway UKIP

The Labour Party had no role in the creation, distribution or any other aspect of this leaflet.  Anything from the Labour Party will have the appropriate imprint on it highlighting who it is promoted by and on behalf of.  This is a legal requirement during election time and the practice carried out by the three local Constituency Labour Parties in Medway at non election time too.
Cllr Vince Maple, Medway Labour

I would hope that no political party had a role in distributing the leaflet, and can confirm that the Liberal Democrats played no part in its distribution. Martin and I are busy having conversations with voters across Watling, and the printed materials we are distributing across the ward are focusing on the issues affecting residents in the ward, making clear at all times that they are from from the Liberal Democrats.
Alan Collins, Medway Liberal Democrats

2. More widely, do you feel such tactics are appropriate as part of an election campaign?

I think calling a candidate out about what they have said and also about their business links is legitimate, but individuals and parties should be accountable for the statements they make and the anonymous nature of the leaflet doesn’t allow for this.
Chas Berry, Medway TUSC

Typical faceless coward printing without the balls to put their face and name to it ……..
Cllr Andrew Mackness, Medway Conservatives

Election campaigns are about providing fact on service delivery and meeting the expectations of residents and exposing where Medway Council  are making the lives of Medway residents and communities worse and increasing health inequalities.
Cllr Roy Freshwater, Medway UKIP

Clearly all candidates and politicians are accountable for what they say and their political views.  It is right for individuals to be held account, we have seen that most recently from the Led By Donkeys campaign which is simply replaying the words of leading Brexit campaigners like Nigel Farage, Dominic Raab, David Davis and Jacob Rees Mogg.  I’m a firm believer of the balance being far more on the positive so of course pointing out where your political opponents have taken the wrong decisions is part of any political campaign but spending much more time on highlighting your positive alternative as we have done with our manifesto is my preferred approach.
Cllr Vince Maple, Medway Labour

If a resident of the ward feels concerned about any party or candidate standing in the election, they are, of course, welcome to make their feelings known in whatever manner they see fit, as long as they do so in a way which is compliant with the law.
As a political campaigner, however, I do not believe personal attacks of any nature have a place in an election campaign. The vast majority of people who stand for election to the council do so with the very best of intentions for Medway. Of course as individuals we have different visions for Medway’s future and different opinions on policy, but it is always possible to debate these with dignity and respect, without needing to resort to personal attacks.
In putting ourselves forward for election, Martin and I obviously believe that we are the best choice for Watling, but ultimately it will be up to the voters to decide. If they do elect us to represent them for the next four years, we will ensure that it is as a result of open and honest conversations with residents during a clean and fair election campaign.
Alan Collins, Medway Liberal Democrats

We received no response to these questions from the Medway Green Party, which we’re sure doesn’t mean anything. Nothing at all.

We were unable to find contact details for the Christian People’s Alliance or the English Democrats, and we issued the questions before the Animal Welfare Party announced they were fielding candidates in Medway.

Here we go again: The Political Medway is a volunteer run website attempting to cover politics in Medway from an independent point of view. As we approach yet another General Election, there’s lots of things we’d like to cover, but we only have a finite amount of resources. If you appreciate what we do, please consider making a one-off or monthly contribution via our Ko-fi page. The more money raised, the more coverage we can provide, so every little bit really does help. Thanks.

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3 Replies to “iFAQ: Whose leaflet isn’t it anyway?”

  1. Sounds like a personal enemy, or someone within Gillingham and Rainham Conservatives who wasn’t nominated to me. Will message Eng Dems for you but don’t think they did it. One of life’s mysterys?

  2. Andrew has already responded to this on his blog, but a formal response to Watling residents is being produced. As the chairman of G and R Conservatives, I can assure your readers that we are fully behind Andrew and assured ourselves prior to his selection for Watling Ward that he was a man of integrity, ability and who is strongly motivated to serve the people of the ward, effectively.

    My question would be ‘who gains from this anonymous attempt at character assassination of an individual’ because I believe that this dirty campaigning damages all of us involved in local politics.’

    Our Party and most local parties would not sink to these tactics and I would welcome a continuation of clean and honest campaigning.

    Brigita Amey
    Chairman, G and R Conservatives.

  3. Clearly Brigita needs to look to who would know this information about her candidate and who would disapprove of him? The most likely are people within her own shrinking party which has lost another MP tonight. I am certain it’s not my party or their candidates or is this all a publicity stunt to try and get voter sympathy ?

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