Labour is considering taking legal action against the Liberal Democrats, alleging "cynical" behavior and a damaging "smear campaign" against their candidate in the upcoming Mid-Bedfordshire by-election. The party has sent a cease and desist letter to the Lib Dems, accusing them of breaching the Representation of the People Act and potentially committing a corrupt practice.
Accusations of 'Smear' Campaign
Labour's candidate Alistair Strathern is hoping to overturn a 24,000 Tory majority in the by-election. However, the party believes that their candidate's chances are being hindered by the Lib Dems' alleged "smear campaign," which they claim could even be illegal. Top Labour MP Peter Kyle, leading the campaign, has accused the Lib Dems of engaging in "dirty tricks" and sinking to a new low.
Allegations of False Statements and Misleading Poll
The legal letter sent by Labour to the Lib Dems' election agent accuses them of two breaches of the Representation of the People Act. The first allegation relates to campaign literature containing "false statements" about Alistair Strathern's residency and role as a London councillor. The letter asserts that he has resigned as a councillor and relocated back to Shefford in Bedfordshire. Labour also claims that the Lib Dems have misled voters with a dodgy poll, presenting inaccurate information about their position in the race.
Labour has demanded the immediate destruction of all existing leaflets, a written apology, and a retraction from the Lib Dems. They have warned that failure to comply with these demands will result in a report being made to the Police and a referral to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Lib Dems Accuse Labour of 'Dirty Tricks'
The Liberal Democrats have dismissed Labour's accusations as desperate attempts to undermine their campaign. MP Helen Morgan argues that Labour's focus should be on Mid Bedfordshire residents, rather than wasting police time. She also criticizes Labour for choosing a candidate who lived 50 miles away when selected and was an elected councillor in East London until just a few days ago. The Liberal Democrats claim that their support is growing in Mid-Bedfordshire and that they have the momentum to win the rural constituency.
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