LABOUR in Gateshead has been accused of talking up the vote of the BNP in a by-election in a ward where the fringe party is in a distant third place.
Dunston and Teams ward goes to the polls on Thursday 5th July. Labour are defending the seat following the death of the widely respected Councillor Maureen Clelland.
However Labour’s election candidate has claimed in his election leaflet that “voting LibDem or Conservative could let the extremist BNP in.”
Liberal Democrat Candidate Michael Ruddy came second in Dunston and Teams in May this year and has dismissed Labour’s claims as rubbish saying “Perhaps the Labour candidate, Garry Haley, has forgotten that he has lost to Liberal Democrats in his five previous election attempts.”
“This is a ridiculous tactic by Labour,” said Councillor Frank Hindle, the Liberal Democrats’ agent for the election. “The BNP were in third place in May – and in the elections before that.
“Labour know that if they can’t get their vote out, they could lose yet another seat to the Liberal Democrats who are in second place.”
Mr Haley was Labour candidate for Whickham South in 2002 and 2003, for Whickham South and Sunniside in 2004, and for Dunston Hill and Whickham East in 2006 and 2007.
In the last 10 years, Labour have lost 9 council seats in Gateshead – all to the Liberal Democrats, who now have 23 Councillors.