LEICESTER City Council, which is run by the Labour Party, has been accused of breaking election laws to promote the Labour Party in the run-up to polling day.
Voters will get the chance to elect a new councillor for the North Evington ward on Friday 6th May, with a by-election that was due last year being delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Tory candidate Abdul Osman, however, has stated that the Labour-run council broke election rules when it recently issued a press release about a scheme to rebuild the front walls of private homes in a ward, along with a ‘promotional’ photo of two Labour councillors and Labour assistant mayor councillor Kirk Master.
The law requires that councils remain neutral in any public material they produce – be it literature or online content.
Mr Osman said the release was a ‘blatant attempt’ by the council, which is currently dominated by Labour who hold 51 out of 54 seats, to promote and support his Labour rival Vandevi Pandya.
“It’s an attempt to manipulate voters by promoting Labour” he said.
“We want an investigation into how this has happened and an apology to all the other candidates and the public.
“It’s an attempt to buy votes for Labour and give them a clear and unfair advantage in the election.
“It is hard to believe this was a mistake because it’s a clear cut breach of purdah rules.
“Councillor Master should have known that.”
In response, a Leicester City Council spokesperson said: “This story was published in error and has subsequently been taken down from our website.
“We have not put forward any councillors for interviews or plan to do any further publicity of this scheme.”
Senior council officers have also assured the Tories they will be monitoring council communications to ensure there is no repeat of the incident.
Mr Osman said he was not satisfied with the response and that the Conservatives would be seeking further remedy, saying: “It’s not good enough. It’s recklessness from the city council. There needs to be a full investigation into the timing of this work to rebuild walls during an election campaign.”