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22 Responses to Lib Dems face complaint over election emails

  1. Stephen Slominski on April 22, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    I think its wrong to use the domain and servers for party political business.
    Why not show two addy’s? One saying ‘for campaign information’ the other ‘for council business only’??
    I think it’s just as bad as ,well, using a council photocopier to print out campaign leaflets for example – I don’t see the difference.

  2. Keith House on April 22, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    Anyone who is a serving Councillor can quite legitimately ask residents to contact them by email as their Councillor using their Eastleigh Borough Council email address. This is simple common-sense.
    Both Liberal Democrat and Conservative Councillors have published their email addresses on election leaflets. Labour candidates have not – for the simple reason that there are no Labour Councillors.

    • Ray Turner on April 23, 2012 at 7:27 pm

      Although this business about email addresses and postal addresses is important, I’m more concerned now with the content of the Lib Dem’s campaign material.

      The leaflets that I have seen in Hedge End & Botley all conveniently omit to mention that the Lib Dems have planned to build thousands of new homes and some new roads in the area whilst speculating and scaremongering about what the Conservatives might do…

      I can see the logic behind such a campaign strategy, I understand the party politics, but it isn’t really up to the standard that I would hope for…

      Come on Lib Dems. You’re essentially decent people. You can do much better than this…

  3. Eastleigh Xpress on April 22, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    Well it is common sense of course but whether or not candidates should use such emails for party political purposes is another matter and it seems to be agreed that a council legal and democratic officer told agents quite clearly they should not.

    Below is a copy of Dartford Council’s protocols for the use of resources by their councillors and I draw readers attention to item seven. It seems quite a sensible and fair arrangement. Why should such measures not also apply to councillors in Eastleigh? Because the Lib Dems hold a large majority they should not apply? I don’t understand the logic here.
    UseofResourcesbyCouncillors[1]

  4. D Snedon on April 23, 2012 at 8:57 am

    This just shows the unhealthy stranglehold that the Lib Dems have – they can flout protocol rules that other Councils follow. Meglomania is a dangerous condition and often leads to downfall.

    • Ray Turner on April 23, 2012 at 7:14 pm

      That’s it in a nutshell D Snedon. Well said.

  5. Keith Day on April 23, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Interesting that Cllr House defends his party’s contravening of the legal officer’s guidance by reference to the Conservatives doing the same thing. Has the national coalition polluted the local party too?

    Mind you, I’d be happy if some of the Hedge End and Botley councillors just replied to my emails, never mind which address to use.

    • Eastleigh Xpress on April 23, 2012 at 9:37 am

      I’m not sure that the two sitting conservative are doing the same thing (can someone scan a flyer?)
      Which member for Hedge End isn’t responding to their council emails then Keith? Do tell! (although I can guess.)

      • Keith Day on April 23, 2012 at 10:14 am

        In March I emailed every Lib Dem councillor to encourage them to sign the Winchester Lib Dems’ petition to their conference to drop the NHS bill. I had replies from Cllr Pamela Holden-Brown and Cllr Haulwen Broadhurst and .. that was it. Apart from automated out of office replies.

  6. Judith Grajewski on April 23, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Sitting Conservative councillors seeking re-election in May are using the following email addresses in their literature –

    Godfrey Olson (Hiltingbury East): g.olson@hotmail.co.uk

    Mike Hughes (Hiltingbury West): mhughes90@yahoo.co.uk
    Their home telephone numbers are also included.

    • Keith House on April 23, 2012 at 10:30 pm

      Sorry Judith, you are not up to date on your Party’s campaigning: I have copies of Conservative election leaflets in Hiltingbury with .eastleigh.gov.uk email addresses. What’s more, I totally defend Cllr Olson and Cllr Hughes’ use of these addresses. Residents will have been familiar with these addresses for nearly four years: it is quite ridiculous to confuse residents with temporary personal addresses.
      That’s why the Electoral Commission guidance says this for each Council to take a decision on how it handles these issues. Eastleigh’s Returning Officer has rightly drawn attention to the guidance, but the Council’s position is to support sitting councillors continuing to do their jobs during election periods.

      • Stephen Slominski on April 23, 2012 at 11:37 pm

        The Electoral Commission guidance is clear, they say use of official email addys could indeed confuse voters – into thinking that it is an endorsement by the council.
        You say changing email addresses might confuse voters – well should we bother changing councillors at all? Surely having a different councillor will confuse the half-wits even more?
        What a great way to save money – we can make the returning officer redundant.
        As a voter I find it objectionable that council servers should be using space and bandwidth paid for by taxpayers for party political purposes (by any party) and if so then this is a benefit that should be declared in expenses.
        While other councils have ruled against this happening it seems clear from the emails I have seen that Eastleigh’s legal & Democratic officers have actually been overruled by councillors!! 😆
        SMH
        Would be ok if I post those emails up on here? Just to see if others agree?
        I don’t think the contents are much of a secret anymore.

        • E J Smith on April 24, 2012 at 10:53 am

          In an earlier article comment, Mr Slominski said quote: ‘it was wrong to accuse council Council workers of collusion’. This wasn’t the suggestion but in these days of precarious job security and sudden redundancies I think lack of co-operation with the leading political party might make employees feel vulnerable. This may be imagined but I have known people who have stood up against authority (for the right reasons) and are now looking for a job…

          • Stephen Slominski on April 24, 2012 at 11:05 am

            Point taken. Yes officers come under political pressure from both sides – it goes with the territory.
            Fortunately it’s not up to councilors to do the hiring and firing.

  7. John Edwards English Democrat on April 23, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    Just read the latest Lib Dem election news here in Hiltingbury East where I’m pleased to say I will be a candidate.

    It looks that it may be in contravention of electoral law by having EBC domain e-mail addresses displayed.

    For you information, the two English Democrat candidates standing in Hiltingbury East & West can be contaced via eastleigh@engdem.org, a party e-mail address for the Eastleigh Branch.

  8. Eastleigh Xpress on April 23, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    Well , “contravention of electoral law” is a bit strong it’s more like a “contravention of electoral guidelines” although I understand the council officers have now backflipped on advice following consultation with the Lib Dems.
    More to follow…

  9. Peter Stewart on April 23, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    Anyone who is a serving Councillor can quite legitimately ask residents to contact them by email as their Councillor using their Eastleigh Borough Council email address.This is simple common-sense.
    Both Liberal Democrat and Conservative Councillors have published their email addresses on election leaflets.Labour candidates have not — for the simple reason that there are no Labour Councillors.

    “…for the simple reason that there are no Labour Councillors”.

    Oh chuckle! What a joke (albeit a rather cruel one) (but true all the same):-)

    YES there are NO Labour Councillors. And there are precious few Tories either. Why is this? Answer: Because both of those parties are rotten to core. The Tory party is taken over by a ruling elite which LIES like mad to its members by saying they are anti-EU but behind the scenes bend over backwards to ratify every piddling EU diktat at our expense. Then there’s Labour: While out of office, Mr T. Blair made it clear he was vehemently anti-EU. When he got in to Downing Street, heck, all change. The big sell out of British workers. No wonder these two parties are dying at the roots. No wonder there is a political vacuum waiting to be filled. The LibDems have filled it. They have done the work needed to win. They HAVE won. What’s everyone whinging about? If others want to win what the LibDems have won, then THEY too must do the work.

  10. Matthew Myatt on April 23, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    I did note with interest Keith House’s comments followed by a flood of email activity at EBC between Mr House, Ms Winstandly and Mr Richard Ward. Many thanks to my ever friendly IT chum at EBC. How funny it is that Mr House can bend rules and bully officers to get his way time after time. It must be time for the people of Eastleigh to stand up to the bully boys of the Fib Dem party and tackle them on the truth. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQlgzGvjj3Q

  11. Peter Stewart on April 24, 2012 at 7:45 am

    The Electoral Commission does not MAKE electoral law (thank goodness)… it merely INTERPRETS it.

    In the absence of a test case, EBC is perfectly at liberty to interpret this aspect of electoral law.

    Anyone who believes a criminal offence has been committed should make a formal complaint to the police. If there is enough evidence, it will wend its way to the Courts for a verdict. Then we will know for sure.

    • Eastleigh Xpress on April 24, 2012 at 9:35 am

      Yes Peter, but it is usually the Legal and Democratic team that adivises members how the Law should be interpreted not the other way around.
      In this case, in response to a request from a Lib Dem member one of the officers clarified what the council position is – no to the use of council domain addresses in election materials. This advice has now been overturned by the returning officer in his capacity as Head of Legal & Democratic following representation from the Lib Dems who claim that using a personal email address would confuse residents to the extent they could be prevented from contacting their Councillor.
      A somewhat flimsy justification IMO.

  12. John Edwards English Democrat on April 24, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    Its clear that there should be a demarcation line on this issue, if not now then in the future.

    Common sense should determine that any election material should not have a public facility mentioned or used such as local government based e-mail addresses.

    One reader has made a valid point of comparing the use of this e-mail facility to the use of a photo copier within the work place.

    The answer is simple. Use your party supplied e-mail address.

  13. Sam Snook on April 24, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    Sorry Judith, you are not up to date on your Party’s campaigning: I have copies of Conservative election leaflets in Hiltingbury with .eastleigh.gov.uk email addresses.What’s more, I totally defend Cllr Olson and Cllr Hughes’ use of these addresses.Residents will have been familiar with these addresses for nearly four years: it is quite ridiculous to confuse residents with temporary personal addresses.
    That’s why the Electoral Commission guidance says this for each Council to take a decision on how it handles these issues.Eastleigh’s Returning Officer has rightly drawn attention to the guidance, but the Council’s position is to support sitting councillors continuing to do their jobs during election periods.

    Keith regards their jobs-what jobs are we talking about?



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