Friday, 26 June 2009

Goldsmid By-election latest: Labour mudslinging could be criminal offence

Oh dear - things aren't so looking rosy at Labour HQ. It looks like their latest wheeze - to spread a few lies about the Green Party candidate - might just have backfired, spectacularly.

The party's latest leaflet could see both Goldsmid candidate Lis Telcs and her election agent in breach of electoral law: both could end up being prosecuted and either paying large fines or even being debarred from standing in the forthcoming election.

The leaflet in question dedicates half a page to a cursory analysis of the Green Party candidate Alex Phillips and her Tory rival Andrew Wealls.

The trouble is - most of it is nonsense, and appears to be made up for the sole purpose of discrediting Alex with the electorate.

It states, for example, that the Greens' Alex Phillips is a student, hasn't worked with local councillors, and hasn't attended community events. All nonsense, and clearly designed to damage her electoral prospects.

Politics can be a dirty game. Telling a few lies might seem clever - though I doubt the electorate will be very impressed with a leaflet dedicated to talking about the other candidates rather than positive policies.

But it's not just electorally stupid, it's a criminal offence.

Section 106 of the The Representation of the People Act 1983 makes it illegal to publish any false statement of fact in relation to the candidate's personal character or conduct.

Since Alex has attended local events, worked with local councillors at a LAT meeting, and is not a student, the law is breached in at least three places.

If the police decide to take any action (prosecutions are rare but not unheard of) the leaflet bears two names: A. Dean and L. Telcs.

I imagine their lawyers will be busy clocking up some overtime this weekend!

1 comment:

  1. wow... that's excitingly dumb of them... is it, I wonder, worth talking to the Argus about that? They rather love a story like that, no?