Monday, May 01, 2006

Labour Forced to Recall 'Racist' Leaflet

My spies tell me that Labour have until 2pm on Tuesday to print and deliver a new election address in a ward in south-east London after a sitting Labour councillor effectively called one of the Tory candidates a racist in it (the charge was repeated at a hustings as well apparently). Libel lawyers Carter Ruck got involved and informed Labour that they should issue a full retraction to every house they delivered to. At first Labour did nothing and said they were "consulting their lawyers" but then it was pointed out that it was their houses that were at stake should a libel case reach court and they suffer Carter Ruck's costs. They agreed they would deliver a new address retracting all libelous comments by Tuesday.

10 comments:

Gavin Ayling said...

My immediate reaction is to call this dirty tricks... But if the Conservative candidate is racist, I hope the local association will take matters into their own hands... Do we know?

Noorderling said...

I understand you have some experience with delivering leaflets containing a retraction of remarks you made about an opponent

Iain Dale said...

noorderling, Indeed so! I hasten to add that it was nothing to do with racism, merely over where my opponent lived!

Bob Piper said...

Actually, Iain, if what I've just been told by an MP, you might need to get in touch with Carter Ruck yourself because Mr Prescott's solicitors have been contacted about your 'Daily Mail'leak... so I hope your journo freinds can make it stand up, so to speak. It's a dirty business this litigation... and costly.

Iain Dale said...

Bob, as I only posted it at 7.55 I am flattered that Labour MPs are so glued to my blog that they can have advised Mr P's solicitors so quickly! I am 100% confident this is true otherwise I would not have posted it, I can assure you.

Blackheath Voter said...

Gavin. The Labour leaflet in question attributed quotes to the Conservative candidate that did not appear in the article, rather were those from the Sunday Times' sub editor in the introduction.

The quotes they used never appeared in any of the text written by the candidate. The article was actually an attack on middle class lefties rather than on any racial group.

Further, these false allegations were made by one of the Labour candidates at a public hustings meeting.

Libel and slander in one week. Disgusting tactics, but of no surprise to anyone who's ever come accros the Greenwich & Woolwich Labour Party

Greenwich Tory said...

Iain, you are 100% right!!
Labour candidates in the Blackheath-Westcombe ward (LB Greenwich) recently published a leaflet accusing one of our candidates - Peter Whittle - of "expresssing racist views" in an article he wrote on multiculturalism for the Sunday Times on 22/1/06.
Following enquiries by our solicitors - Carter Ruck - Labour have agreed to pulp the offending publicationt and delivered a grovelling apology to all recipients of the original leaflet - no mean task given that they have no campaign to speak of down here!!!

Greenwich Tories will not be messed with!!!

Anonymous said...

The Sunday Times article by Tory candidate Peter Whittle is here.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk
/article/0,,2092-2003576.00.html

Will be interesting to see whether the electorate consider that Labour have been caught out in an unfair personal attack or whether the Tory use of lawyers, rather than rebutting the allegations themselves, will be seen as bullying.

Greenwich Tory said...

This was well, well beyond the normal parameters of political debate. Bullies and thugs must be made aware that they can't just publish anything they want and claim freedom of speech protection or variations thereof. Every right carries a responsibility...a responsibility to tell the truth.

Blackheath Voter said...

Anyway, the Tories did put out a rebuttal-I got a leaflet actually giving the url of the article and inviting people to make up their own mind rather than listening to Labour smears.