Fake Green Party election leaflets fly-tipped by mystery person in bid to 'discredit' East Hampshire candidate
ELECTION leaflets supposedly from the Green Party were faked and fly-tipped in a bid to damage a candidate’s chances of poll success, a campaign manager has said.
The fake flyers were dumped in an attempt to discredit the party during the East Hampshire by-election for Horndean Downs ward last Thursday,
Ian James, campaigns manager for the East Hampshire Green Party, said the action was ‘potentially very damaging’.
His name as agent was on the leaflet, but it also gave the independent candidate’s address.
Despite the ‘smear’ Green candidate Blossom Gottlieb won a majority of 29 – becoming the first Green district councillor in the county.
It comes after The News reported in August how a Fareham Borough Council former independent candidate’s leaflets were photocopied and dumped in a ‘smear campaign’.
Mr James said: ‘There was a pile of A5 flyers on North Road that purported to come from the Green Party.
‘These were very poorly printed and obviously designed to discredit the Green Party.
‘When I looked at the imprint I saw that it was my name but a different address so later in the day we went to visit this address and it turned out to be the independent candidate.
‘So someone was trying to damage both the prospects of the independents and the Green Party.
‘There was also an A2 poster, and that was implying that the Green Party was a very radical left-wing socialist party.
‘It was an attempt to smear us and it was obviously designed to advantage the Conservative Party.
‘It was clearly someone trying to damage both the other candidates’ chances.’
It’s not known who mocked up the leaflets and dumped them.
Mr James added: ‘It was clearly someone who understood the electoral process because of the imprint.
‘It’s potentially very damaging because it’s interfering with a democratic process.’
Councillor Gottlieb won 320 votes, and Conservative candidate Jon Whitfield came second with 291. The independent candidate David Alexander picked up 41 votes.
‘We don't know what the intention was, we don’t know who it was but it definitely wasn’t something nice to experience on the day of the election,’ Cllr Gottlieb said.
‘I was watching them count votes when the independent candidate was there and he told me that this person used his address, so they were trying to frame him and that’s when I thought this was bad intent.’
Conservative candidate Mr Whitfield said the stunt was ‘disgusting’.
He said: ‘We were hearing all these stories from people coming up to vote, one of my supporters noticed that the address on them was the independent’s candidate’s address.
‘The quality of the flyers were horrendous, anyone who knows anything knows that the Greens and myself spent quite a lot of money on leafleting.
‘I didn’t believe it was the Greens and it was certainly nothing to do with us.
‘If it was a Conservative supporter it was certainly not one that had told me, or I was aware of and I certainly do not approve of it in any way shape or form.
‘Personally, I don’t need that kind of help and I don’t appreciate people who do that in my name if they have.'