Liverpool Lib Dems in 'ban on children' smear

The activities of the Lib Dems in one Liverpool ward is something of a case study of the party's brand of local-level negative campaigning, misleading claims and false accusations against their political rivals.

Green Party councillors in the city's St Michaels ward have challenged the Liberal Democrats to defend a lurid leaflet that
claimed the Greens planned to "force limits on the number of children local families can have".

A second smear was headlined "Green councillors make homeless sleep in the snow."

In response, the Greens condemned both accusations as "completely unfounded" and
launched a legal fund to "fight Lib Dem libel" in a bid to force local Lib Dems to defend or explain their accusations.

On population, the party pointed out core Green policy that "PP106 The Green Party holds that the number of children people have should be a matter of free choice."

And on the cold weather shelter accusation, in a full explanation of the shelter arrangements the Greens responded "The preposterous idea that "Green councillors refused to allow a local community building to be used" for cold weather shelter is not only untrue - it is impossible. Local councillors do not have that kind of authority."

Perhaps demonstrating the Lib Dems' desperation to hold on to their last seat in the ward, the double-smear leaflet was followed by more negative campaigning - this time a 'holiday postcard' claiming Greens wanted to add £100 Air Passenger Duty to "every air ticket".

However, the Green Party budget statement (pdf) published a couple of months beforehand in fact suggested a doubling of air passenger duty, which in the case of a standard flight to Spain would be £20 - five times less than the Lib Dem postcard suggested.

In a bid to bring a halt to such smears and dirty tactics, local Green councillor John Coyne invited his Lib Dem rival Cllr Peter Allen to attend a public meeting to account for the content of the dirty tricks leaflets.

However, Cllr Allen did not turn up.

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