Councillor Paul Lorber, leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Brent Council, has protested to Christine Gilbert, Acting Chief Executive, over a Brent Council leaflet that uses the same political slogan, 'On Your Side', as a Labour Party leaflet distributed in the Tokyngton ward.
I have criticised the Liberal Democrats in the past for what I saw as 'dodgy leaflets' LINK and they are no angels in this regard, but this connection between the Council itself and a pre-election party campaign is something new.
Paul Lorber wrote:
I did think it very odd that so much of Council Staff time was being spent on the week of action in Tokyngton Ward just over 2 months before the local elections.
The Sudbury ward working officer seemed to be taken off normal duties to concentrate preparing for the event. Clearly Council Officers could not possibly afford to get things wrong in the Council Leaders’ ward.
I am sure that you will have a very logical explanation as to why thousands of pounds of officer time and Council resources are used in this way.
However I do not believe that you will have a valid explanation as to why Labour election slogan then get used in Council paid for publicity for this event.
Needless to say the Labour Party could not miss the opportunity to put out their own leaflets at the same time taking advantage of the thousands spent by the Council.
Please confirm the total cost in officer time and all direct costs on this ‘political’ week of action and explain why it was allowed to be hijacked in this obvious and unacceptable way.
Then please explain the action you will take with the individuals responsible for this abuse.
The earlier 'Willesden Green Week of Action' also encountered criticism and led to a FoI request about costs but officer time was excluded from the information provided by the Council LINKPaul