MP candidate slams council for allowing material about rival to remain on display in office

The magazines on display at Havant Borough Council
The magazines on display at Havant Borough Council

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A PARLIAMENTARY candidate has hit out at Havant Borough Council for allowing magazines containing adverts about a fellow candidate to remain on display during the pre-election period.

The Postcode Publications PO7/PO8 and PO9/PO11 on display at The Plaza in Havant contain adverts about former Havant MP Alan Mak – something Independent Havant candidate Ann Buckley thinks is wrong.

Ann Buckley

Ann Buckley

The magazines were published in April before the general election was called, but Mrs Buckley said the publications should then have been removed from the council’s offices.

But the council said restrictions on publicity during the pre-election period only related to material published by the council – and the magazines were not.

Mrs Buckley said: ‘The publications contain pages of material about the former MP.

‘Councillor and cabinet member David Guest is director of the magazines and it’s inappropriate to have the material on display, and for distribution, in the foyer of the council’s office during the pre-election period.

Alan Mak

Alan Mak

‘I don’t think the council should allow this to happen. It’s not fair.’

The PO7/PO8 edition of the publications contains one half-page advert about Mr Mak when he was the borough’s MP and a first-person report on his work locally and in Westminster.

The PO9/PO11 edition contains the same, plus a nomination form for Mr Mak’s Small Business Awards.

Havant Borough Council’s executive director Tom Horwood said: ‘I’ve looked at the publications and, while I understand concerns, there’s no rule prohibiting them being made available in the council offices, in the same way they’re available in other locations.

‘The restrictions on publicity during the pre-election period only relate to material published by the council and not the PO7-PO11 publications.’

The free community papers cover areas including Havant, Waterlooville and Hayling Island.

Conservative councillor David Guest said if the magazines had been published after the election announcement, the content wouldn’t have appeared.

He said: ‘The adverts are legal and are sanctioned by the House of Commons.

‘They were included because at the time of publication Mr Mak was an MP, and they’ll only appear again should he be re-elected. Any MP can approach us to advertise in the publications.’

Mrs Buckley said the council’s response to her complaint was inadequate.