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Police investigate 'dirty tricks' in Islington election

PUBLISHED: 12:00 06 May 2015 | UPDATED: 14:27 06 May 2015

Emily Thornberry, MP for Islington South and Finsbury

Emily Thornberry, MP for Islington South and Finsbury

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Anonymous leaflet urges Tory supporters to vote for Lib Dems to prevent Labour retaining their seat in the south of the borough.

The leaflet that was posted through letterboxes over the weekendThe leaflet that was posted through letterboxes over the weekend

A police investigation is underway after illegal political leaflets were found distributed across Islington urging people to tactically vote to ensure a Conservative government wins tomorrow’s election.

The mystery leaflets, which both the Tories and Lib Dems deny being behind, say voting for Islington South and Finsbury Conservative candidate Dr Mark Lim is “a wasted vote” and that if voters want to see another Conservative-led Government they should vote Liberal Democrat to prevent Labour candidate Emily Thornberry from retaining her seat.

In what Ms Thornberry called “a very US-style dirty tricks campaign”, the Conservative party-coloured leaflet states that in both the 2005 and 2010 elections Labour won by a heavy majority and that while “a vote for the Conservatives won’t deny Labour a seat – a vote for Lib Dems might”.

The flyer, which was pushed through letterboxes over the weekend, urged Islington South voters to choose Liberal Democrats in order to oust the Labour politician from her seat.

Dr Mark Lim, Conservative candidate for Islington South and Islington NorthDr Mark Lim, Conservative candidate for Islington South and Islington North

Ms Thornberry said: “It’s not acceptable to undermine our democracy like this and I’m pleased the police are involved.”

But the Labour candidate said the illegal flyer was not going to damage her campaign and that people “have strong support in this constituency”.

“People are enthusiastic about voting Labour and getting rid of this terrible government,” she said.

Islington South’s Conservative candidate, Dr Mark Lim, said his party had nothing to do with the leaflet and that he wanted to be the one to “defeat Emily Thornberry” in today’s election.

Liberal Democrats candidate Terry StacyLiberal Democrats candidate Terry Stacy

“We want to be the ones that defeat Emily Thornberry and we think we’re in a better position than we were last time,” he said.

Dr Lim condemned the illegal flyer, saying the general message was “wrong” and that “anybody is entitled to print what they want, but you have to put the name of the publisher and printer on it”.

Liberal Democrat candidate Terry Stacy said he had nothing to do with the leaflet but that he did not disagree with its content, saying: “I am slightly flattered that somebody’s made the effort to encourage Tory voters to vote for the Liberal Democrats because they know the Tories haven’t got a hope in hell in Islington.”

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: “We have been made aware by the media of an election leaflet being circulated in Islington that is said to have no imprint, and, as such, be in breach of the Representation of People Act, 1983.

“Detectives from the Special Enquiry Team are now investigating this allegation.”

For live coverage of the election go to islingtongazette.co.uk/home/election-2015

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