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Legal action regarding Libdem leaflets

I won’t be publishing comments on this post and will not be giving my own opinion.  The reason for this will be apparent from the information below which is a press release published by the Reading Labour party after legal advice.  However for the record I thought it was worth publishing.  I will publish a more upbeat post later regarding an event yesterday.

Solicitors acting for the Association of Labour Councillors have written to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) asking him to carry out an investigation to determine whether any criminal act has been committed in the publishing earlier this year of a “Focus on Redlands” by the three LibDem Councillors for Redlands Ward. The DPP has a duty to do so under Section 181 of the Representation of the People Act 1983.
In their letter, Steel and Shamash Solicitors say that they had previously written to the persons responsible for the leaflet asking them to retract an attack on Labour’s Jan Gavin – which they say is “totally false” and contravenes Section 106 of the Representation of the People Act 1983. There has been no response to that letter.
The Act says that anyone who before or during an election publishes a false statement about a candidate is guilty of an illegal practice; that if a candidate guilty of an illegal practice is elected then their election may be declared void; and that others guilty of an illegal practice may be barred from elective office and even from voting.
Labour Group Leader Jo Lovelock, who contacted the ALC following recent attacks on Reading Borough Council’s “facilities agreement” with the trade unions, says: “The original false allegations regarding the secondment of Council staff to represent the workforce on a range of issues was one of the worst attempts to smear the Labour Party locally that I have seen, but the attack on Jan Gavin takes this to a new low and we have no choice but to ask for this to be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions.”

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