Labour accused of sending political letter with Nottingham City Council-headed paper

Lead commissioner Tony McArdle pictured at Nottingham City Council's Loxley House, sat down wearing a dark blue suit jacket, light blue shirt and red tie.
Lead commissioner Tony McArdle pictured at Nottingham City Council's Loxley House -Credit:Joseph Raynor/Nottingham Post

A complaint has been made about a "lack of transparency" surrounding a letter sent out to residents by two Nottingham councillors. Nottingham City Council has confirmed that it has just received a complaint made to its chief executive and legal director and that it will now be looking into the matter.

A letter sent out to those living in the Castle ward in January by Matt Shannon and Sam Lux detailed the financial impacts of the council's effective declaration of bankruptcy in November 2023. The letter was sent in January on official Nottingham City Council-headed paper.

Yet a Freedom of Information request has now revealed the letter was funded in full by Nottingham Labour, the political party which has the most members in the city, rather than the council itself. Lloydie James Lloyd, campaigns co-ordinator for the Nottingham Liberal Democrats, has therefore raised concerns about council resources being used incorrectly.

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Mr Lloyd said: "This lack of transparency is troubling. Anyone would think this is a city council letter but the council has denied funding it. The council have admitted the Labour Party funded, printed and distributed this letter.

"Why is this not mentioned anywhere in the letter? This letter appears to be Labour Party use of a council resource.

"It should either have been on council-headed paper and paid for by the council or branded up as a Labour letter and paid for by the Labour Party. It should always be clear if it is the council speaking or the Labour Party and in this instance it's not so much that the lines have been blurred - they have been completely hidden from sight. The public have a right to know who signed off on this."

It is understood that it is not unusual for councillors to send letters to residents on city council-headed paper, but the authority will now be investigating.

Addressing what was then the proposal to send commissioners into Nottingham, something now a reality, the January letter said: "Michael Gove has notified the council that he is 'minded to' send commissioners to take over some of its democratic functions. We do not believe this would be useful or justified...

"We believe that sending commissioners into the council would mean that decisions are not accountable to those who live in Nottingham and would damage our ability to do our job in representing you on the council."