'Dirty tricks' claim on Leigh election leaflet

Southend Standard: Southend Council leader Nigel Holdcroft Southend Council leader Nigel Holdcroft

A KEY by-election campaign has turned ugly with Tories accusing a senior Independent councillor of dirty tricks.

Council leader Nigel Holdcroft is considering reporting Ron Woodley over a leaflet distributed in West Leigh ahead of a by-election in the ward on Thursday.

There have also been complaints about an e-mail from Mr Woodley, in which he calls Conservative cabinet member Tony Cox “Blobby” and an “idiot”.

The leaflet criticises the Conservatives’ record on education and consultations, and makes claims about the council’s debt levels, which are disputed by the Tories.

Mr Holdcroft said: “There is no doubt councillor Woodley’s figures are inaccurate and misleading and deliberately aimed to influence the outcome of a by-election in a part of the town in which he has never shown any interest.

“The question is whether he simply doesn’t understand the true financial position of the council, or is trying to mislead the public.

“I will give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he simply doesn’t understand local government funding.

“Finally, it is unfortunate he should descend to petty name calling, however, I regret this appears to be how the Independent Party wants to contribute to the debate as to the management and future of the town.”

Mr Woodley claims debt has risen from £63million to £289million for the 2013/14 financial year under the Conservatives and interest on the debt has cost £82.7million over the past seven years and £19.1million for 2013/14.

Mr Holdcroft claims debt at the end of this financial year will be £256.8million of which £84.5million relates to council housing, which is managed through council rent. Interest on the remaining £172million cost £14.6million for 2013/14.

Mr Holdcroft, who is standing down as Conservative leader and West Leigh councillor at the full Southend Council elections in May, said: “We have asked the chief executive to consider whether the leaflets and advert require investigation by the police or electoral commission.”

Each £1million the council borrows costs about £80,000 a year in interest payments which could be spent on libraries, or children’s centres.

Mr Woodley, who favours saving up for big projects rather than borrowing, said: “It doesn’t matter if he takes a complaint forward because the debt levels are there.

“The debt levels have been stated by the audit committee and in the council’s own blue book of its finances. He might say the borrowing for the housing stock comes from a different pot, but the council is still ultimately responsible for the debt.”

Comments (14)

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3:29pm Wed 22 Jan 14

Nebs says...

Election material should be wholly about the candidate telling us what they are going to do, rather than them telling us what they think the other parties will do.
Election material should be wholly about the candidate telling us what they are going to do, rather than them telling us what they think the other parties will do. Nebs
  • Score: 11

4:14pm Wed 22 Jan 14

supermadmax says...

Zzzzzzzzzz
Zzzzzzzzzz supermadmax
  • Score: -3

4:40pm Wed 22 Jan 14

emcee says...

Quote: "There have also been complaints about an e-mail from Mr Woodley, in which he calls Conservative cabinet member Tony Cox “Blobby” and an “idiot”.
-
Hahaha... this, alone, should be a vote winner for Mr Woodley.
Quote: "There have also been complaints about an e-mail from Mr Woodley, in which he calls Conservative cabinet member Tony Cox “Blobby” and an “idiot”. - Hahaha... this, alone, should be a vote winner for Mr Woodley. emcee
  • Score: 13

4:54pm Wed 22 Jan 14

Living the La Vida Legra says...

And BANG goes my vote for woody Woodley
And BANG goes my vote for woody Woodley Living the La Vida Legra
  • Score: -8

5:04pm Wed 22 Jan 14

Been there got the T shirt says...

A case for attempted deformation of character, at the very least, libellous at the other end of this political scale.
A case for attempted deformation of character, at the very least, libellous at the other end of this political scale. Been there got the T shirt
  • Score: -8

6:22pm Wed 22 Jan 14

jolllyboy says...

The councils reputation for not taking notice of the residents' opinions is obvious. As to the financial situation of the council, well they are spending a lot on buildings and also sharing the cost of buildings which in a time of austerity measures where the finances are hitting front line services ie children's centres,and libraries etc does lead to a question of whether such spending is in the best interests of the town at this time. name calling is often the result of sheer frustration and I expect this wont be the last of it even nationally.
The councils reputation for not taking notice of the residents' opinions is obvious. As to the financial situation of the council, well they are spending a lot on buildings and also sharing the cost of buildings which in a time of austerity measures where the finances are hitting front line services ie children's centres,and libraries etc does lead to a question of whether such spending is in the best interests of the town at this time. name calling is often the result of sheer frustration and I expect this wont be the last of it even nationally. jolllyboy
  • Score: 7

6:31pm Wed 22 Jan 14

Barbara Moore says...

Yes, but no, but, come on everybody, a retiring leader of a Conservative run council, well almost, is bound to attempt to score points against other parties, just as poor Nora Goodman got slatted just saying what we all think, they're honest councillors that have become frustrated with the 'Committee' of the privileged few who have decided all the important plans/improvements/v
etoing plans that they say we want. Oh yes, ignore public petitions, ignore common sense, ignore having proper accountability for resident/tenant/coun
ts so we pay far more than we should legally!!! .........let's put that word 'alleged'.... come on plebs.....discuss...
...
Yes, but no, but, come on everybody, a retiring leader of a Conservative run council, well almost, is bound to attempt to score points against other parties, just as poor Nora Goodman got slatted just saying what we all think, they're honest councillors that have become frustrated with the 'Committee' of the privileged few who have decided all the important plans/improvements/v etoing plans that they say we want. Oh yes, ignore public petitions, ignore common sense, ignore having proper accountability for resident/tenant/coun ts so we pay far more than we should legally!!! .........let's put that word 'alleged'.... come on plebs.....discuss... ... Barbara Moore
  • Score: 18

9:25pm Wed 22 Jan 14

Kim Gandy says...

Been there got the T shirt wrote:
A case for attempted deformation of character, at the very least, libellous at the other end of this political scale.
This is the vile face of party politics for you - another good reason I got out of it. Couldn't stand all the backstabbing and nastiness.

Just shows the incompetence and unsuitability of these people to hold public office. I have no time for lies and deceit and viciousness.

Time for people to check out those they vote for and exercise some common sense in their choices. Checking out candidates is now vital in making a decision.

As long as you are not taking too much notice of the rubbish you read on Tw@tter and farcebook written by others. However, take a LOT of notice of the sort of spurious comments placed on social networking sites by certain Labour councillors who think it's a good idea to attack members of the public and other politicians instead of paying attention to the needs of their constituents.
[quote][p][bold]Been there got the T shirt[/bold] wrote: A case for attempted deformation of character, at the very least, libellous at the other end of this political scale.[/p][/quote]This is the vile face of party politics for you - another good reason I got out of it. Couldn't stand all the backstabbing and nastiness. Just shows the incompetence and unsuitability of these people to hold public office. I have no time for lies and deceit and viciousness. Time for people to check out those they vote for and exercise some common sense in their choices. Checking out candidates is now vital in making a decision. As long as you are not taking too much notice of the rubbish you read on Tw@tter and farcebook written by others. However, take a LOT of notice of the sort of spurious comments placed on social networking sites by certain Labour councillors who think it's a good idea to attack members of the public and other politicians instead of paying attention to the needs of their constituents. Kim Gandy
  • Score: -5

9:34pm Wed 22 Jan 14

rhowes says...

The more interesting question surely is why is Mr Woodley helping UKIP to write their leaflets? Are the Independent Group really wishing to support this "Little Englander" Party in Southend?
The more interesting question surely is why is Mr Woodley helping UKIP to write their leaflets? Are the Independent Group really wishing to support this "Little Englander" Party in Southend? rhowes
  • Score: -1

10:16pm Wed 22 Jan 14

jayman says...

the local Tories have pulled a massive 'dirty trick' on Southend. They have sh@ all over it...
the local Tories have pulled a massive 'dirty trick' on Southend. They have sh@ all over it... jayman
  • Score: 2

10:27pm Wed 22 Jan 14

jayman says...

so basically Southend council is £256,800.000 in debt. £84,500.000 of debt has been run up by Southend council through 'arms-reach' council housing management inefficiency and outsourced accountability while £172,300.000 is just because the council have been a bit muddled while trying to run the borough. The £84,500.000 of council housing account debt may be in a ring fenced account but I doubt its creditors see it that way. especially when its there money that the council have spent.
so basically Southend council is £256,800.000 in debt. £84,500.000 of debt has been run up by Southend council through 'arms-reach' council housing management inefficiency and outsourced accountability while £172,300.000 is just because the council have been a bit muddled while trying to run the borough. The £84,500.000 of council housing account debt may be in a ring fenced account but I doubt its creditors see it that way. especially when its there money that the council have spent. jayman
  • Score: 1

10:37pm Wed 22 Jan 14

jayman says...

population of Southend according to Wikipedia 174,300. council debt according to its administration 172,300.000.

that's £988.52 for ever man, woman and child in Southend. less the council housing account and interest, and what do we have to show for it?

oh yes. that shiny new, central primary school Southend desperately needs, The efficient roads, the thriving palm trees, the immaculate parks and well thought out and engineered capital spending projects.....?????
population of Southend according to Wikipedia 174,300. council debt according to its administration 172,300.000. that's £988.52 for ever man, woman and child in Southend. less the council housing account and interest, and what do we have to show for it? oh yes. that shiny new, central primary school Southend desperately needs, The efficient roads, the thriving palm trees, the immaculate parks and well thought out and engineered capital spending projects.....????? jayman
  • Score: 3

11:38pm Wed 22 Jan 14

Devils Advocate says...

Oh, here we go again. Step two of the right-wing master plan. This is the exact route they took last time they came back into power. The talk of insults, but, in Basildon, the ruling Tory party vilify anybody who tries to disagree at the meetings and, if the people do not stop the gagging order, the situation will just get worse. Just how many lies and how much misdirection have been used by this party since they came to power nationally, would fill the law courts for a hundred years. And this is the party that used the Postal votes of dead people to gain power. Perhaps they should try teaching by example instead of the half-truths and far from whole truths that is their usual spiel!
Oh, here we go again. Step two of the right-wing master plan. This is the exact route they took last time they came back into power. The talk of insults, but, in Basildon, the ruling Tory party vilify anybody who tries to disagree at the meetings and, if the people do not stop the gagging order, the situation will just get worse. Just how many lies and how much misdirection have been used by this party since they came to power nationally, would fill the law courts for a hundred years. And this is the party that used the Postal votes of dead people to gain power. Perhaps they should try teaching by example instead of the half-truths and far from whole truths that is their usual spiel! Devils Advocate
  • Score: 2

5:49pm Thu 23 Jan 14

runwellian says...

My MP is David A-mess and I haven't set eyes on him in the twenty plus years I have lived in Leigh so it is hard to believe any of them represent their constituents!

when, where and how do they get know of our views?
My MP is David A-mess and I haven't set eyes on him in the twenty plus years I have lived in Leigh so it is hard to believe any of them represent their constituents! when, where and how do they get know of our views? runwellian
  • Score: 0

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