Labour brushes off Lib Dem anger over 'local' leaflet spat
AS the local elections enter the final straight before polling day next Thursday, there has been a dispute between Labour and the Liberal Democrats over how local their candidates really are.
The Ringwood Lib Dem group said it has "politely requested" Labour to issue a clarification and stop handing out leaflets which carried the heading "Only Labour is offering you local candidates".
Labour's claim related to two members standing for election on 6th May: Peter Kelleher in the town's Hampshire County Council seat, and Paul Iggulden for the Ringwood North seat in the town council by-election.
The Lib Dems said: "We should not have to say this but we know that some people are being misled by a Labour leaflet claiming only Labour is offering local candidates. That's untrue.
"In the Ringwood North by-election Luke Dadford is a lifelong local who lives in Poulner. The Conservative candidate for the town by-election might live in [Ashley Heath in] Dorset but the Conservative candidate for the Hampshire County Council does indeed live locally as well."
However, a spokesperson for Labour insisted the the party will not be withdrawing the leaflets.
Labour's John Haywood said: "New Forest West Labour certainly has no intention of being misleading.
"We recognise that parties can find it difficult to find enough very local residents prepared to stand in elections.
"We are very proud, though, to point out that in Ringwood North in this election, both Labour candidates are very local, with a lived awareness of the issues that matter to the residents of Poulner."
Standing for the HCC Ringwood seat are Alex Brunsdon (Lib Dem), Nicola Jolly (Green), Peter Kelleher (Labour) and Michael Thierry (Conservative).
Standing for the Ringwood North seat in the Ringwood Town Council by-election are Luke Dadford (Lib Dem), Paul Iggulden (Labour) and Derek Scott (Conservative).