Opposition parties accused of 'smear and fear' campaign (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Opposition parties accused of 'smear and fear' campaign in Waltham Forest
Labour has accused its opponents of a “smear and fear” campaign in the run up to today’s election.
Deputy leader of the council, Clyde Loakes, criticised Conservative and Liberal Democrat strategy in Leytonstone ward and beyond.
It is understood Cllr Loakes is in part referring to a leaflet distributed by the Tories, which ties Cllr Loakes in with current and historical concerns over the management of public funds.
These include the recent scandal over the E11 Bid Company, which aims to promote business in Leytonstone and was found to have been in financial disarray for a number of years.
Cllr Loakes is a former member of the company’s board.
However, he believes the Tory tactic has backfired.
Cllr Loakes said: “People have been really upset with the opposition’s negative campaigning.
“Liberal Democrat and Tory councillors have been running smear and fear campaigns with personal attacks on opposition councillors.
“People want positive messages at these times, they do not want to hear negative messages about other candidates.
“Some people, who would not normally vote for us are going to because of that.
“I am pretty confident that Waltham Forest will stay Labour.”
Cllr Loakes said he had received positive feedback on the doorstep and people’s main concerns were air quality and betting shop regulation.
However, Conservative group leader, Matt Davies, defended the leaflet.
He said: “All the other parties have been doing is highlighting Councillor Loakes’ record. It is a matter of fact.
“There are no smears and no slurs.They are simply reminding the voters of his record as a portfolio holder and in the council.
“If Councillor Loakes is so ashamed of his record that he is not prepared to stand up for it then that says it all.”
The Liberal Democrats imploded at the last election after being in coalition with Labour.
In-fighting between factions saw leading figures leave the party on the eve of the poll.
However group leader Bob Sullivan believes his party could once again become a political force in the borough.
He said: “We have been running a campaign to get street drinkers off high streets and people have responded to that really well.
“The people that I have spoken to are really concerned about parking in the borough.
“Residents who live near CPZ’s are having their roads clogged up and they want a solution. They are changing their minds about CPZ’s.
“We represent the people of the borough, Labour represents politics.
“We work 24/7 all year round and we are the only party who delivers a newsletter when it is not election time.
“I think if there is going to be a change then it will have to be a joint administration. We are not going to win any seats in Chingford.
“On the day you never know what is going to happen. On paper we should do quite well.”
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