Party under fire as candidate is called ‘councillor’

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan at the Scrap The Cap rally, held in Guildhall Square

Hundreds turn out for Scrap The Cap rally

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POLITICIANS have criticised Gosport’s Conservatives after the party put out a leaflet wrongly naming one of its members as a councillor.

The Tory association put out a survey in all 17 wards in the borough asking people for their opinions.

In the Labour-held Town ward the slip at the bottom mistakenly asked people to return it to ‘local ward councillor Abby Thomson’.

She was a Tory candidate in the 2010 council election but lost to Labour’s Diane Searle.

Cllr June Cully also represents the ward for Labour.

She said: ‘Abby has never been elected.

‘This is a misrepresentation to the residents that Cllr Searle and I were elected to represent.

‘I would expect the MP to know better than to try and mislead the residents of Gosport.’

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage appears at the top of the survey and her signature is printed on the top.

Leaflets were delivered by volunteers and only a few went out to households as the mistake was spotted.

Cllr Searle beat Mrs Thomson in the 2012 election, winning 642 votes compared with her 464 votes.

Cllr Cully retained her seat earlier this year with 792 votes, pushing the Tory’s George McAleese to third with 267 votes, behind Ukip’s David Tinman who got 283.

Mrs Thomson said: ‘They’ve all been reprinted.

‘I went to pick them up and saw it.

‘The minute I spotted it they were retracted and reprinted.

‘If some got out it’s a total mistake.

‘The last thing we want to do is detract from June Cully – June works really hard.’

Each seat in the ward is up for election every four years, with an election being held every two years.

Tory leader Mark Hook said the error was entirely unintentional.

He told The News: ‘It was one of those mistakes. It was picked up – a typing error.’

‘It was withdrawn and it has been reprinted.

‘Where we’ve actually done the leaflet for the whole of the borough what we needed to do was change bits and pieces and that one went through unnoticed.

The News understands only two bundles of the incorrect leaflet were given to volunteers to hand out.

The survey asked residents what local issues are most important to them and how they would vote in the general election in May next year.