Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Shocked and Angered at Labour Dirty Tricks Advert In Stroud

GREEN Party members were ‘shocked and angered’ at an advertisement which asked them to vote for Labour candidate David Drew at the general election.

The advert, which appeared in the Stroud News & Journal, was misleading as it calls Mr Drew a 'Green MP' and does not mention Labour.

Labour members argue the publicity was not supposed to be party-political and point out it was produced and paid for by someone else.

John Marjoram, co-ordinator of the Stroud District Green Party, said: "This advertisement has shocked and angered Greens throughout the district. We would like to assure them that it has nothing whatsoever to do with the Green Party.

"We have an excellent parliamentary candidate in Martin Whiteside who is doing everything he can to win on the fair and just policies the Greens stand for."

The full-page advert was promoted by Ron Bailey, a former national campaigns officer for the Green Party who defected to the Lib Dems and is now director of the campaigns group Unlock Democracy. The green-bordered advert asks ‘Green and other voters’ to back ‘GREEN MP’ David Drew and lists his credentials in green text – but does not mention Labour.

Mr Whiteside said: "Leafletting on the streets in both Dursley and Stroud at the weekend, we encountered numerous people who had assumed that the advert had been placed by the Green Party - and were furious with the Greens for telling them to vote labour.

"On being put right on who placed the advert, they were amazed and considered it misleading and some considered it a 'dirty trick'."

A spokesman for Mr Drew said he approved the words but had no control over the overall advert because it was produced and paid for by someone else. "We did not think it was misleading because it was nothing to do with him being a Labour Party MP, it was to do with him being a good MP".

Mr Drew added: "What the Greens have got to understand is they haven’t got a monopoly on Green policies. "The bottom line is the Greens aren’t going to win this seat but I accept they could stop me winning."

The Green Party wishes to make it clear it does not support the advertisement. Parliamentary candidate Martin Whiteside said ‘I hope the election can be fought on party policies and record in Government - not on trick tactics like this. It is a shame the campaign has started like this'.

John added, "It is a sad day indeed when, after 13 years in government, a political advertisement for a Labour MP dare not even mention the word ‘Labour'".

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