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"Cynical and shoddy" Lib Dem Campaigning in Southport under fire.

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The Liberal Democrats are facing heavy criticism for their campaigning in Southport after releasing leaflets that have been described as "a cynical and shoddy attempt to hoodwink" local voters.

It comes after Southport constituents received a letter within the Lib-Dem campaigning material informing them that Labour was "strongly likely to finish a distant third" and advising them that "if Labour voters were to lend their vote to the Liberal Democrats they could stop the Conservatives winning in the town".  
The letter comes from Mike Smithson, founder of politicalbetting.com who says:
"I make my living by cutting through spin to see what the data really says. it's the data that forms the basis of all my predictions",
before then offering his advice on the situation in Southport. 
What the letter doesn't reveal is that Smithson is also a former Lib-Dem politician and that similar letters have gone out to several Lib-Dem marginals, all offering the same recommendation to vote for the party.
It seems that instead of "cutting through the spin" as the letter states, Smithson and the Lib-Dems are creating it. 
 
John Donnelly from Ainsdale was one of those who received the material, he said:
"The letter came with another Lib-Dem campaigning leaflet in an envelope addressed to me. I'm used to getting all sorts during an election, most of it goes to the recycling bin but I thought it was odd to see the Lib-Dems basically advertising what looked like a political betting site so I did a bit of Googling." 
He continued: "The letter gave me the impression that Mike Smithson was an independent expert so I was really angry to discover what to me is a blatant conflict of interest. I really don't like any political parties trying to trick me. Lord only knows how many other people too. It's sly and underhand in my opinion."
smithson_guido_3.JPGThe letter, which is essentially standardised for several marginal constituencies but appears based on local specialist advice, has caused some concern on twitter and has now featured on one of the leading political blogs, Guido Fawkes, which stated:
"Wherever they arrive, the data outlined in Smithson's letter always points to voting tactically in support of the Lib Dems. What a shocker."
 
John is a Labour supporter and was so annoyed by the letter he took it along to our campaign HQ in Wayfarer's Arcade to complain.
   
Liz Savage, Labour's Parliamentary Candidate for Southport, says she's appalled by the tactic:
"It's at best misleading. It's a cynical and shoddy attempt to hoodwink Southport voters I'd say. It's desperate stuff from them because various polls have us level or ahead of them and they know momentum is increasing with us. We are the only chance of stopping the Tories in Southport now and they know it."
She says it's the latest in series of claims made in an "increasingly negative campaign" by her Lib-Dem opponents:
"They've said I can't win here and that more and more Labour voters are turning to them but I'd like to know the basis for their claims. Indicators and surveys show that there's a surge of support towards us in the town. It's a shame they feel they have to resort to such underhand tactics but more importantly, it's also unfair to the people of Southport." 
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commented 2017-06-07 14:37:32 +0100
Matt, it is the 21st century, there are all sorts of ways of communicating. From this very website, to social media, to canvassing, to media work, to articles, to actually good old fashioned public meetings. Did you go to the husting at Christ Church on Lord St. for instance? Liz has been very clear with her message and it’s one of positive change for Southport and fairness and equality for the UK. Saving our A&E, and our teachers; protecting our elderly from Tory attacks and cuts to social care and also protecting our community by put more police back on the streets and working with Labour colleagues in the region to take Southport forward. Lord St knows, the town needs change, Liz has the vision and energy to provide it… and without resorting to tactics like the ones described in this article.
commented 2017-06-07 12:45:16 +0100
The amount of political materials coming from the lib dems should be looked into. We have had a huge amount including a personalised letter from Pugh. It reeks of desperation to keep hold of this seat. If labour thought they were really in with a chance of taking this seat we would have had more party political information. As it stands I have had one leaflet against approx 10+ leaflets from the lib dems and 2 from the conservatives. If people don’t know what you stand for why would the vote for you?
commented 2017-06-07 11:37:25 +0100
This is extremely poor work by the Lib-Dems. It is arrogant behaviour by a party that for too long has treated Southport with complacency and now has treated it with contempt. It reeks of desperation, possibly because the indicators and polls, Ashcroft, Yougov, LCR Mayoral result breakdown etc. etc. all point to Labour having drawn level or surpassed them. You often get “hurly-burly” in elections ( the comment below for instance… I find it rather bizarre that someone who claims to be a Labour supporter gets basic facts wrong such as claiming that the Labour webite is Momentum and then has an apparently conflicting mishmash of ideas and misinformation, for instance, he claims to support Jeremy Corbyn but won’t vote for JC’s candidate here? Bizarre to say the least.)… but this by the Lib-Dems is of another level. It’s wrong and the people of Southport deserve better. It’s time for a change, it’s time for Labour.
commented 2017-06-07 08:37:08 +0100
Unfortunately, I do not believe that Labour will come through from third place to win a single seat in the country. I also do not expect Labour to win a single seat in a constituency where they have no councillors and note that Labour’s own website, Momentum, does not list Southport as a seat which Labour can win, so Liz Savage has (perhaps unsurprisingly) failed to convince her own HQ!

So why is Labour putting so many resources into Southport, diverting those resources away from the nearby seats which Labour can win? This could be a disaster for Labour, as the extra help could have tipped the balance in as many as 4 local tory/Labour marginals. My conclusion is that Labour wants the tory to win, not only in Southport but also in the nearby Labour/tory marginals! Why is this? I suspect that there are Blairites within the party who would sabotage their own party to undermine Jeremy Corbyn, just like the MPs in the party who will not get behind their leader. This election could and should have been won and would have been won without the traitors within, including the majority of Labour MPs who still refuse to support their leader. It saddens me that there are people within the Labour party, especially the parliamentary Labour party, who will be rejoicing when the tories storm to victory in the election. It saddens me even more that the Southport Labour party would rather see a tory victory than a Jeremy Corbyn victory.

I will be voting Liberal Democrat tomorrow, as the only candidate who can beat the tory. The tory candidate is a career politician who has no interest in Southport and will simply do everything Theresa May tells him to do. I do not want him representing me, but fear that with the assistance of Labour the tory may well win. Tony Blair’s government betrayed the working class, and when Labour get a principled, honest, socialist leader the Blairites still seem determined to betray the working class with their support for tories in Southport and elsewhere.
commented 2017-06-06 20:22:32 +0100
The liberals are a spent force, thus prooving they are nothing but political prostitutes, they do and say anything to try and gain slight power for self gratification. Labour are the change that’s needed and can win.
commented 2017-06-06 19:12:05 +0100
Is this legal? Is he influencing ‘punters’? You know a party is desperate when they resort to this sort of tactic

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