Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
20 January 2011

A Lib Dem leaflet oversteps the mark

Labour MP considering legal action over Lib Dem expenses leaflet.

By George Eaton

The Lib Dems may have been the victim of some scurrilous leaflets in recent times but, as every politico knows, they’re rarely afraid of resorting to underhand tactics themselves.

In Rochdale, a neighbouring constituency to Oldham East and Saddleworth, the local party has just issued the leaflet below, which brackets the Labour MP Simon Danczuk with those notable sinners, David Chaytor and Phil Woolas.

Danczuk is pictured under the heading “Guilty?”, the implication being that he, like Chaytor and Woolas, faces legal action.


Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A weekly dig into the New Statesman’s archive of over 100 years of stellar and influential journalism, sent each Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy

In a tone of mock outrage, the leaflet declares:

Shockingly, Mr Danczuk has been found to have claimed back 80p to attend Rochdale’s Mayor making, £9 to watch a football match at Old Trafford and £72.80 on food in Parliament. He has also employed his partner as his Senior Secretary – a job that can pay up to £27,000! All of this comes after he had the cheek to claim he had taken a huge pay cut!

But, whatever the use of the word “guilty?” may imply, all of the above claims were legal and, by the standards of the expenses scandal, far from exceptional. Unsurprisingly, Danczuk is considering suing the party for libel. The Lib Dems may live to regret their use of the crude tactic of guilt by association.