Labour reports Tory London mayor candidate over ‘misleading’ election leaflet

Patrick Daly, PA Political Correspondent
·3-min read

Labour has reported the Conservative London mayoral candidate to the Crown Prosecution Service over claims he “repeatedly attempted to mislead” voters with campaign leaflets.

Shaun Bailey, who is seeking to topple Labour incumbent Sadiq Khan during the upcoming May election, used “City Hall” branded paper to warn Londoners of an alleged “21.2%” council tax increase.

The letter warned: “London mayoral council tax rise. Do not ignore.”

The leaflet, sent in December, invited readers to sign a petition against any council tax hikes and, while the footnote included Mr Bailey’s name and the address for the Conservative Party headquarters, the Tory Party logo and name was absent.

Lawyers acting on behalf of Labour, in their submission to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), called the leaflets a “fraudulent device”, as described by the 1983 Representation of the People Act.

Under the act, director of public prosecutions Max Hill is responsible for making inquiries into potential offences.

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner said the leaflets were a “work of fiction” and called for the Tories to apologise.

She said: “The Tory mayoral candidate has been caught out repeatedly attempting to mislead Londoners.

“He seems determined to insult voters’ intelligence by bringing discredited Donald Trump-style fake news to London.

“He has consistently misled over TfL finances, the congestion charge and council tax, and his latest leaflets are literally a work of fiction.

“Fake news, fake polls and fake leaflets will not only reflect badly on him and the Conservative Party but erode trust in politics.

“The Conservative Party must immediately apologise for the actions of their London mayoral campaign and demonstrate that they are committed to following the law.”

Luisa Porritt, the Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate, posted a picture of the leaflets on social media on December 14, labelling it a “cheap trick”.

Angela Rayner, deputy Labour leader, has called for the Tories to apologise over the leaflets
Angela Rayner, deputy Labour leader, has called for the Tories to apologise over the leaflets (Jane Barlow/PA)

She posted on Twitter: “This is a heartless, cheap trick to play at a time so many Londoners are worried sick about making ends meet.

“Shaun Bailey, you should apologise immediately for the distress your act of desperation will cause.

“This is inappropriate behaviour from someone standing for mayor.”

A spokesman for Mr Bailey’s campaign said: “We published our leaflet because Londoners have a right to know when their mayor is planning to hike council tax.

“The Government has repeatedly said that Sadiq Khan does not have to raise council tax to fund Transport for London. So this is Sadiq Khan’s decision — and his alone.”

The CPS confirmed it had received the letter from Labour’s lawyers but said it would not be making any further comment.

The London mayoral election is due to take place on May 6, having been postponed by 12 months due to the coronavirus outbreak in the UK.