Eastleigh’s Liberal Democrat MP Mike Thornton took to twitter today to issue an apology to Eastleigh News and Eastleigh’s Ukip Branch.
When being interviewed by Eastleigh News for a story on a ‘war of words’ between Eastleigh Liberal Democrats and their Ukip rivals, Thornton alleged that Ukip had distributed a leaflet in Hedge End during the recent Hedge End Town Council by-election describing Allington Lane as a ‘perfect solution’ (for possible future housing development).
The MP also said he had a copy of the leaflet in his office.
Ukip contacted Eastleigh News to say this was not possible because they had not printed any such leaflet.
Eastleigh News then asked the Lib Dems if they could send a scan of the leaflet to verify Thornton’s side of the story.
Shortly after Thornton tweeted twice to apologise to Ukip and Eastleigh News for getting it ‘wrong’ over the leaflet.
Sources at Eastleigh Ukip told Eastleigh News that they had referred to Allington Lane as a ‘perfect solution’ in a tweet and local Ukip chair Glynn Davies-Dear described it as a ‘least worst’ option that Ukip would consider if they gained control of the council during the life of the local plan.
Mike Thornton is currently running a petition to ‘stop UKIP 4000 house chaos’.
A Lib Dem source said they didn’t think Ukip’s proposal to build on Allington Lane with a reduced number of houses would get past a public enquiry.
Housing is likely to be a key issue in the local election campaign with residents in many areas unhappy with housing development allocations proposed under the Local Plan.
Lib Dems are say that Ukip appear to have committed themselves to supporting an unviable housing plan while Ukip say this episode has exposed ‘Lib Dem lies’ about Ukip policies.