Election row erupts in Wigan over use of logo on leaflet
Wigan Council says it has received a complaint and is looking into the matter.
Concern was raised after The Deal was featured in election material for Labour's candidate in Standish with Langtree ward, Dave Wood
This, it was suggested by one of the other parties in the election race, could lead to the belief that the town hall was endorsing the Labour candidate.
However, the local Labour Party has issued a strongly-worded statement saying its politicians were responsible for coming up with The Deal so candidates are free to celebrate it when campaigning.
Voters go to the polls tomorrow (Thursday) to elect councillors in all 25 of the borough's wards.
Gareth Fairhurst, who is the election agent for Standish Independents candidate Debbie Fairhurst, said he alerted the town hall to the logo's appearance on Mr Wood's election Facebook page.
Mr Fairhurst said: "This is important because it affects all the candidates in Standish. People might be confused and think the council is supporting the Labour candidate.
"It is a key part of democracy that the council does not endorse any candidates. What the council can do here is make sure that before polling day the electorate as a whole knows this.
"This isn't just about the influence on our candidate, it affects the democratic process in Standish."
The council has now released a statement on the matter.
A spokesperson said: “Elections are run by the Returning Officer who is considering the complaint in the light of Electoral Commission Guidance.
“The Council has no power to endorse or support any candidates.”
Wigan Labour Party, though, has robustly denied any wrongdoing.
A spokesperson said: "The leaflet from the Labour Party candidate for Standish, Dave Wood, shows his and the Labour Party’s support for and commitment to the continuing implementation of the council’s The Deal.
"This hugely-innovative approach by Wigan’s Labour Council has been applauded nationally, leading to our Labour Council being recently voted Best Council in England.
"Labour created The Deal; Labour supports The Deal.
"Dave Wood has shown his commitment to maintaining services and keeping Wigan’s council tax the lowest in Greater Manchester.
"It is unfortunate that some candidates appear to believe that nit-picking is more important than putting forward a plan to make Standish a better place for all its residents."
The full list of candidates for the local elections in Standish with Langtree ward is: Debbie Fairhurst (Standish Independents), Caroline Waddicor (Liberal Democrats), Raymond Whittingham (Conservatives), Dave Wood (Labour).
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