A Labour politician in Peterborough has hit back at accusations that election leaflets sent out in Polish are “disgusting deception.”
Former city parliamentary candidate Ed Murphy said a Daily Mail article stating that Labour leaflets in Polish and English contained many different pieces of information was incorrect.
The Mail story stated that the leaflet in English does not mention the NHS or immigration, unlike the one in Polish, prompting accusations by Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson that it was a “cheap and divisive tactic that should have no place in an election campaign.”
However, Mr Murphy disputes the coverage of events and sent through pictures of his leaflets to the Peterborough Telegraph which appear to show that the English and Polish versions are very similar.
The English version mentions both immigration and the NHS, although one of the bullet points in Polish talks about the European Union referendum with the English version instead focusing on child care extension and affordable housing.
Mr Murphy is standing for re-election as a Labour and Co-operative member for Ravensthorpe on Peterborough City Council.
He said the West branch of the Labour Party had approved publication of leaflets in Polish, Lithuanian and Russian which himself and two colleagues worked on.
One of his colleagues, who is Eastern European, then wrote all four leaflets, including the English version, which the trio decided should have one of its lines changed.
Mr Murphy, who failed in his attempt to become Peterborough’s MP in the 2010 general election, said: “We thought that child care extension and affordable housing are important issues for people who have lived in Peterborough for some time and can remember when there was council housing.
“The leaflets are designed to encourage participation in democracy and to get people to vote. In essence, the leaflets are the same and they have been successful.”
Mr Jackson told the Mail: This will appal most of my constituents.” He later told the PT: “Telling one group of voters in the same ward one thing and another group a different message is dishonest. Peterborough Labour are still the party of high immigration and unlimited welfare.”
Fellow Conservative John Peach was also heavily critical of the leaflets. He said: “It’s a disgusting deception by Labour saying one thing to a proportion of the population and saying something different to other people.
“I’m sure the public will realise the Labour lies and vote in the right direction.”
A spokesperson for the East of England Labour Party said: “This was a locally produced leaflet, which is no longer being distributed. It does not reflect the national Labour Party’s local election campaign.”
Also standing in the Ravensthorpe Ward are: Roger Hughes (UKIP), Sue Johnson (Labour and Co-operative), Matthew Mahabadi (Labour and Co-operative), Gul Nawaz (Conservative), Mohammed Rangzeb (Conservative) and Samantha Smith Conservative).