Friday, 22 July 2011

Truro City Council by-election

MK candidate Lance Dyer polled 144 votes in yesterday’s by-election for a seat on Truro City Council (Boscawen). Compared to the last contest in this seat – a by-election in September 2009 – MK held its vote share almost exactly.

The seat was won by the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrat vote almost halved and Labour gained a large number of votes. The full result was as follows:

Conservative 469 (39.7% – up 8.9% from 2009)
Lib Dem 322 (27.3% – down 21.3% from 2009)
Labour 246 (20.8% – up 12.3% from 2009)
MK 144 (12.2% – up 0.2% from 2009)

Obviously we would have like to picked up more votes, but do feel we may have lost a number of votes because of a Conservative leaflet distributed in the last week.

The leaflet (see below) listed the candidates and had a comment about each. It noted that Lorrie Eathorne-Gibbons (Conservative) “lives in the ward and wants the best for Truro,” while Hanna Toms (Labour) “doesn’t live in the ward” and Kate Tregunna (Liberal Democrat) also “doesn’t live in the ward.”

But for Lance Dyer, the Conservative leaflet stated: “A Mebyon Kernow Councillor just joined Conservatives.” Obviously this refers to former MK councillor Loic Rich but it was written in such a way that many people interpreted it to mean that Lance had joined the Tories. All the other comments were personal to individual candidates and therefore people read the comment about Lance in the same way.

We first found out about the confusion when were even contacted by voters asking if Lance had joined the Tories.

I contacted the Conservatives about this issue yesterday and spoke to their election agent Bob Davidson and got nowhere. He said the leaflet was not misleading and not inaccurate.

For the record; the leaflet was shoddy and it was misleading because voters were mislead by it. And it was also inaccurate because Loic Rich was a former MK councillor when he joined the Conservatives.

We will certainly be looking to take this further and asking for an apology. I am not that hopeful however as we did not receive an apology when MK was misrepresented on a different Conservative leaflet in a Camborne by-election last year (see blog entry for 18 November 2010).

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