ELECTION BULLETIN: Labour and Tories clash as campaigning officially begins

Election news
Election news

Adur and Worthing residents will go to the polls on May 3 in the latest round of local elections.

From political rows to quirky stories and party statements, the Herald will be leading the way in keeping you informed.

Since candidates were confirmed on Friday, April 6, things have already started to develop – and you can keep up to date with our bulletins which will be updated as campaigning progresses.

Email deputy political editor Oli Poole at oliver.poole@jpress.co.uk if you have an item to contribute.

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* Election leaflet claims have sparked a row between the Conservatives and Labour.

Paul Eustice, Worthing Labour candidate for Offington, questioned assertions over the frequency of bin collections in a leaflet posted to Tory Louise Murphy’s Facebook page. The leaflet refers to the ‘mess’ in Labour-controlled Brighton and hails Worthing retaining weekly bin collections when the ‘vast majority’ have scrapped them.

Mr Eustice claimed Labour was not planning to scrap weekly collections in Worthing – but the Tories hit back, citing 2016 Labour literature outlining how ‘most councils collect domestic waste fortnightly’, alternating with collecting recycling which saved money.

The extract went on to ask: “Why does our council resist this change?”

Labour’s Jim Deen issued a clarification on social media on Monday. He said: “Labour is committed to retaining weekly waste collections but we will develop strategies to improve rates of recycling.”

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*The Labour/Tory row moved from bin collections to council tax.

The Conservatives’ election material claimed Labour would seek to ‘double’ council tax – an apparent reference to comments made by Labour MP Chris Williamson.

Both issues saw political opponents verbally spar over the issues – and the rows prompted letters to be sent to the Herald in a bid to clear things up.

Margaret Howard, standing for Labour in Broadwater, wrote: “The facts of the matter are that this is not Labour policy, neither locally or nationally and if Labour councillors are elected in East Worthing and Shoreham we have no intention of doubling council tax nor reducing bin collections and to say otherwise is to give credence to untruths. Both of these are scare stories being used to manipulate the voter so that Conservatives councillors can stay in power.

“This leaflet is trying to make capital of an unfortunate comment made by a Labour MP who gave a personal opinion, against Labour Party policy, and as a result resigned from the shadow cabinet.”

Despite the candidate’s comments, an article on Labourlist,org saw Mr Williamson deny he had quit the Labour frontbench because of council tax remarks. The national press had linked the comments and the resignation at the time.

Under current legislation, a council tax rise of such proportions would trigger the need for a referendum.

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*Non-political council officers ‘must take some kind of pills to put up with some of the nonsense that gets peddled’ during elections, a Conservative councillor joked on Tuesday (April 10).

Adur District Council deputy leader Angus Dunn made the comment at the joint strategic committee meeting shortly after discussion between cabinet members and Labour leader Les Alden over the council’s progress on its housing strategy.

“I don’t think they have pills – it’s called professionalism,” replied leader Neil Parkin.

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*An unusual method of qualifying to stand for election has been used by one Conservative candidate.

Adur Buckingham ward hopeful Emma Evans said while she had moved to Mid Sussex, she still rented grazing land in the district, enabling her to squeeze onto the ballot paper.

Click here for the full story.

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*Spot the difference – now even the formatting of leaflets is attracting attention.

Worthing Labour veteran Jim Deen tweeted a comparison of party colleague Beccy Cooper’s leaflet next to the front page of one produced by May’s Conservative candidate Ed Crouch.

What do you think? Click here to compare the two.

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*Signs of an impending election were perhaps loud and clear on Tuesday (April 10) as Adur and Worthing cabinet members met for the last time before polling day.

Praise for a variety of projects was bandied around, with words like ‘innovative’, ‘ingenuity’ and ‘exciting’ commonplace.

One councillor remarked that the group had almost run out of words to describe things.

“We haven’t used aardvark,” another helpfully pointed out.