Desperation and Bad Judgement
New Forest Conservatives have often been guilty when it comes to failing to support the police.
Neither the Tory Government, the Tory Police & Crime Commissioner or Tory Councillors have been willing to make sure we have enough officers to deal with all the demands they now have to deal with whilst crime increases.
In this context, the very last thing you would expect them to do is to waste police time, but that is exactly what they have done in a clumsy attempt to discredit Craig Fletcher, the Lib Dem candidate in the Fawley By-election.
The Tories involved the police, asking them to investigate whether Craig was entitled to stand as a candidate, whilst living 15 miles away from the ward.
This gave them the opportunity of telling the local press that Craig “had been reported to the police”. The Lymington Times duly obliged.
The really dirty tactic is underlined by the fact that their own candidate lives 13 miles away from the ward, yet all the election literature they produced promotes him as the local candidate!
As if this isn’t enough, we know of several serving Tory District Councillors who live miles away from the ward they represent.
Craig Fletcher is a really sensible chap and took legal advice before standing as a candidate, to make sure he was entitled to do so. Although he has lots of connections with the Fawley area, including owning property and businesses he built up, he didn’t claim to live locally, unlike the Tory candidate.
You won’t be surprised that the police have swiftly decided to take no action, having spoken to Craig over the phone and sent him one e-mail.
What makes me cross about this is that it is perfectly proper to have a bit of political argy-bargy, exposing things candidates may not like the public to know (such as the Tory candidate’s unpaid debt and homophobic Facebook posts), but wasting police time in order to try and score points is a sign of really appalling judgement.
The amazing thing is that some of the Tory activists seem to have swallowed the notion that the Lib Dems were smearing their candidate.
If these things, widely reported in the press are true, it is not “smearing”.
I predict that many people who voted Tory will later consider that it was as bad a judgement as the Tories decision to waste police time…. we will see.
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It was a most remarkable day at Hampshire County Council today. As Leader of the Liberal Democrat Opposition group, I led the charge against the proposed closure of the Orchard Close Care Home, in Hayling Island.