'Embarrassing' Labour election leaflet which accused the Tories of 's******g" on us' lowers the tone of local polls, Conservative warns as candidate apologises
A Labour local election candidate has apologised after the party put out an "embarrassing" leaflet accusing the Tories of "s******g on us to fund tax cuts for the wealthy".
Local party figures have insisted the rude leaflet was the product of a genuine mistake as they simply reproduced an image downloaded from the internet, rather than designing the campaign material themselves.
But the "cock up", as one party source described it, has left Conservative Kirklees councillors disappointed, with one saying it "lowers the tone" of the May 3 election.
Labour councillor Mahmood Akhtar has now been forced to apologise after the election flyer was sent to homes in his Batley East ward.
Mr Akhtar said: ’I apologise and I am sorry for the mistake, it was a genuine mistake and an oversight has occurred.
‘’We have completely pulled the leaflet and we immediately ordered a corrected new batch after rectifying the wording.
"This is very embarrassing and mistakes do happen and I am sorry for what’s happened and agreed to pull the leaflet from distribution immediately."
Richard Smith, Conservative councillor for Kirkburton ward, described the the leaflet as "a shame".
He said: "I became involved in local politics as I thought it would be an opportunity to try and have some influence over decisions involving our region.
"I do not think elected officials should be putting out literature like this.
"It lowers the tone of the election and I think the people of Batley and wider Kirklees deserve better than this."
He went on: "I do have to say that when people behave like this and put out rude literature, just to try and gain votes in the run up to an election, there is little wonder the public have such a low opinion of Kirklees councillors.
"We recently adopted a code of conduct which aimed at improving the way members and officers interact with each other and members of the public. I, personally do not think we should have to have a code of conduct to inform us how to behave decently towards one another, in public, private or indeed in any literature we associate ourselves with."
Mr Akhtar's Conservative rival for the seat, Keiron Gavaghan, said: "Batley is a great town that should have a positive vision for the future, I understand this flyer has been produced in error and I am not offended by it, but it does highlight the divisive nature of the local Labour party and their lack of solutions to the challenges Batley faces.
"I am standing as a volunteer candidate and will not be taking a salary or expenses for my work instead I will donate it in full to charities within Batley and would ask that Mahmood makes the same pledge."