Leaflet row leads to police call

Coun Bob Brierley and the election leaflet
Coun Bob Brierley and the election leaflet

A SITTING councillor who alleges he is the victim of “lies” by a rival Wigan elections candidate has called in police.

Hindley Green Independent Bob Brierley is angry about claims in an official Labour election address delivered to hundreds of homes across the ward this week which states he voted against increased investment in apprenticeships across the borough.

He refutes the claim and has now lodged an official complaint to Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Peter Fahy and sent him a copy of the offending election leaflet.

Coun Brierley claims that the communication breaches the terms of the Representation of the People Act because it knowingly publishes a falsehood about an election rival.

But Labour candidate Maxine Read said today that she stood by the election leaflet and its claims over the Independent group’s voting record on funding for Wigan apprenticeships.

Coun Brierley said: “This leaflet contains a false statement in relation to my conduct.

“It contains the false statement that Maxine Read says she is slamming me for voting against Labour’s budget which set aside funds to create and retain apprenticeships for young people.

“But I did not vote against this measure and by claiming that I did, Maxine is creating an impression that I do not support young people, which is absolutely untrue.

“This would appear to be a clear breach of the Representation of the People Act 1983.”

He is calling for GMP to investigate his complaint as “a matter of urgency” to that any further distribution of the leaflet can be stopped.

But Labour’s Hindley Green candidate Maxine Read hit back that “it was clear that Coun Brierley didn’t want the public to know how he votes” in the Council Chamber.

She said: “Labour’s Town Hall Budget contains a commitment to increase apprenticeships as well as a freeze in Council tax and protection of our Sure Start Centres, like the centre in Hindley.

“The Independent Group of Councillors, of which Coun Brierley is a member, voted against these proposals in the Council Chamber.

“He is now trying to hide these actions from the public and I will not let him get away with it.”

Greater Manchester Police have confirmed that they are received the complaint from Coun Brierley.

l CANDIDATES standing in the Hindley Green ward: Bob Brierley (Ind); Barry Fagan (Community Action Party); Maxine Read, (Lab); Margaret Winstanley (Con).