Harrogate Greens accuse Lib Dems of telling ‘blatant lie’ on by-election leaflet
Mar 26, 2024
Gilly Charter and Andrew Timothy.

The Green Party has reacted angrily to a Liberal Democrat leaflet that wrongly says they are not putting forward a candidate in the Stray, Woodlands and Hookstone by-election.

Campaigning is underway for the by-election which will take place on April 11 following the resignation of former councillor Pat Marsh.

Gilly Charters is standing for the Greens in the division, but she was contacted by two supporters over the weekend who asked if she was stepping down after they read a leaflet credited to Liberal Democrat candidate Andrew Timothy.

The leaflet urges voters to submit their postal votes before the deadline and describes the race as being between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives.

It says Labour “came a distant third last time” and “the Green’s (sic) have stood down this election.”

Arnold Warneken, Green Party councillor for Ouseburn, was campaigning in the division on Sunday. He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that the leaflet includes a “blatant lie” about the Greens standing down.

He said:

“I am angry, all these people are out there working hard for us. There should be a sense of mutual respect. The Lib Dems need to read what they put through people’s letterboxes.”

The Lib Dem leaflet.

The Greens did not put forward a candidate the last time the division was contested in 2022 because Cllr Warneken said they supported Pat Marsh.

The party has made a formal complaint about the leaflet to North Yorkshire Council and North Yorkshire Police for a breach of the Elections Act 2022.

The LDRS asked the Liberal Democrats to respond but they declined.

However, we have seen a direct message on social media platform X from a local Lib Dem official that blamed an external printing company for the error.

Cllr Warneken called it a “limp excuse”.

The direct message said:

“The letter that went out on Saturday was printed by an external printer who printed an earlier draft of the letter that was neither approved by the candidate nor the election agent. At no point was the intent to mislead anyone. There is going to be a correction issued once we’ve taken the appropriate advice from party HQ.”

A full list of candidates in the by-election is below:

Conservative – John Ennis

Green – Gilly Charters

Labour – Geoff Foxhall

Liberal Democrat – Andrew Timothy

Reform – John Swales

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