Duplicity in Camden

Lib Dems in Camden have been caught out sending out contradictory messages to appeal to different communities within the same borough.

Alongside a picture of herself with Muslim community leaders, Jo Shaw -
Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Holborn & St Pancras - makes clear in a local leaflet distributed to Muslim areas within her constituency that she is calling on the government to "stop arming Israel".

On her website, she reports how she
joined a march against last year's Israeli "attacks" on Gaza and comments "Gordon Brown and the Labour Government have acted much too slowly in condemning Israel."

Shaw is following official Lib Dem policy (pdf), which takes a robust line against Israel, calling for the suspension of British arms sales to the country, the suspension of new EU-Israel trade agreements, an end to the economic blockade of Gaza and an end to settlements.

All fairly straightforward, until you travel a mile or so up the road to the Hampstead end of the borough.

Here, such themes can be said to be far from evident in the leaflets - complete with Hebrew text - distributed in the Jewish community of the Hampstead & Kilburn constituency by the campaign of fellow Lib Dem parliamentary candidate Ed Fordham.

Lib Dem candidate resigns over offensive web comments

A Lib Dem parliamentary candidate who posted a series of lewd and personal attacks on a political website has been forced to resign.

Greg Stone, the party's candidate for the Newcastle East parliamentary constituency, made the comments on the Guido Fawkes political blog under the pseudonym 'Inamicus'.

Among numerous offensive comments about government ministers and MPs, Stone described foreign secretary David Miliband as looking "monged" and suggested that Hazel Blears was 'on Botox'.

Women MPs were singled out for particularly harsh treatment, with Anne McIntosh - against whom Mr Stone stood in 2001 - Theresa May and Theresa Villiers all coming under fire for their dress sense.

Others targeted were Labour MPs Sharon Hodgson, who was described as the "thickest MP in the House" and Roberta Blackman-Woods who was called a "sour-faced b****".

Responding in the local Sunday Sun newspaper, Ms Hodgson said: “People shouldn’t be fooled by the nice party image, they (Lib-Dems) can have a real nasty streak when they want to.”

The Daily Telegraph comments that the episode is particularly embarrassing for Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, since he and most of the Lib Dem shadow cabinet have backed Mr Stone by visiting his Newcastle campaign in the past year.

Mr Stone also claimed on numerous occasions to be an adviser to the Lib Dem leadership.

Despite his resignation as a parliamentary candidate, Newcastle newspaper The Journal writes that Mr Stone still intends to stand for re-election to Newcastle City Council in May.

Liverpool Lib Dems smear Greens and Labour

Liverpool Lib Dems have been caught out propagating completely unfounded allegations about the views of their Green Party rivals over a local regeneration project.

An edition of the Lib Dem's local Focus newsletter about the restoration of a landmark gardens site alleged that Green councillors "called for the plans to be scrapped" and instead "want to build a completely undeliverable eco-village".

As ever, no quote or reference is given by the Lib Dems to back up their claims.

Responding to the smear, Liverpool Greens said that the claims were "completely untrue" and that their councillors were "baffled" as to where the Lib Dems' accusations had come from, publishing their own briefing about the restoration project alongside the offending Focus newsletter.

But compared to previous Lib Dem antics in Liverpool, the Greens could be considered to have got off lightly.

Back in 2008, a leading Lib Dem councillor in the city was caught distributing leaflets purportedly published by another party smearing a local Labour rival and her husband.

According to the
Liverpool Echo
, Cllr Steve Hurst delivered pink leaflets supposedly from the United Socialist Party (TUSP) claiming Labour Cllr Pauline Walton left meetings early "to go lap dancing" and her fireman husband Keith was a "scab" during firefighters' strikes.

The court heard that Hurst, wearing dark glasses and a baseball cap, had been accosted while delivering the leaflets by Mr Walton and his two sons, whereupon a scuffle ensued and Hurst fled, dropping not just some yellow and pink Liberal Democrat leaflets but also the pink supposed TUSP flyers.

On sentencing Cllr Hurst, Judge Richard Clancy said that he thought Hurst's "motives were misconceived".

Hurst was found guilty of breaching election law requiring the source of political information to printed on campaign materials and was fined £500.

According to the Liverpool Daily Post, Cllr Hurst also lost a later appeal against the verdict, at which hearing the judge condemned his activities as "dirty tactics of the worst kind" and said that "This sort of conduct brings considerable discredit on his party and local politicians in general."