Friday, 28 May 2010

Oldham

Thanks to Liberal England for drawing my attention to this item. Looking back over the whole career of Phil Woolas as a parliamentary candidate it does seem proper that his behavior should be scrutinised.

As Elwyn says on his website:

Lib Dem to issue legal challenge over Parliamentary election result



The Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Oldham East and Saddleworth at the recent General Election, Elwyn Watkins, is to formally challenge the declared result.




The result, declared in the late morning of Friday 7th May 2010, ended in a wafer-thin majority of 103 for incumbent Labour MP Phil Woolas, following two recounts.




Under rules governing the conduct of election candidates and campaigns, Mr Watkins has submitted his Petition for a hearing of a rarely-convened election court, based on an alleged breach of Section 106 of the Representation of the People Act (1983).



Specifically, part one of Section 106 states:

"A person who, or any director of any body or association corporate which-

(a) before or during an election,

(b) for the purpose of affecting the return of any candidate at the election, makes or publishes any false statement of fact in relation to the candidate's personal character or conduct shall be guilty of an illegal practice, unless he can show that he had reasonable grounds for believing, and did believe, that statement to be true."

It is the contention of Mr Watkins that Labour campaign literature, published and distributed with the consent of Mr Woolas and his election agent, Joseph Fitzpatrick, constitutes a breach of this provision.


Mr Watkins said, "It is clear that Labour literature circulated within the Oldham East and Saddleworth constituency, specifically 'The Examiner' newspaper, an edition of the 'Labour Rose', and a full-colour 'Election Communication' leaflet, contained numerous misleading and erroneous claims regarding my personal character and reputation, and that of my campaign.


Southport's Tony Dawson fought the seat last time round and Chris Davis was the MP and so Lib Dems have been well aware of the nature of Labour's campaigning in the area for some time.. One to watch...

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