A Labour Councillor from Bolton has been suspended from the party after being filmed stealing a rival’s campaign leaflets from resident’s letterboxes.
John Gillat, the incumbent Labour candidate for Heaton, Lostock and Chew Moor, has been suspended by the party after stealing and destroying literature posted by Independent Choice candidate Gordon Campbell, in an attempt to deny voters a democratic choice.
In a video filmed by Mr Campbell, Mr Gillat apparently admits to having done so.
Speaking to The Bolton News Mr Campbell said: “He is trying to undermine local democracy, ignoring the principles of integrity and fairness by seeking to corrupt the democratic process.
“It is little wonder that seven out of every ten registered voters have simply decided to give up on voting altogether when this is the type of candidate offered by one of the mainstream parties.”
The video shows Mr Campbell confronting Gillatt while the pair of them are out campaigning in the ward.
When accused of the theft, Mr Gillatt is heard saying, “I don’t deny it… You can report me to the electoral commission if you like.”
Mr Campbell said: “Such actions must legitimately, bring into question the suitability of this candidate’s personal ethics, and moral compass, which now identify him as an utterly unfit person, to represent the good people of Bolton.
“If he is so willing to be this dishonest from the outset of these local elections, heaven knows what he and his party are capable of should they become the majority party in our town’s council chamber.
“The people of Bolton deserve far more and far better than this.”
As of this week, Mr Gillatt has been suspended by the Labour Party.
Cllr Peel, Labour leader of the council, said: “John is a very well-known and experienced candidate so he should have known better.
“I’ve apologised to Gordon, he’s apologised to Gordon and I’ve taken it to regional and asked that he be suspended.
“I can now confirm they have done that, and it shows that we do not accept this kind of behaviour from our candidates.”
Gillat will, however, still appear on ballot papers on polling day but if elected he will not sit as a member of the Labour group.
Gillat is the second Labour Councillor suspended this week in the run-up to today’s local elections.
Today, it was confirmed that prominent Darlington Councillor David Beckett had been suspended for calling King Charles a “n*nce”.
“Are we seriously being asked to swear that we will ‘pledge allegiance to his Majesty, [his] heirs and successors according to law’?” Beckett wrote on Twitter.
“There isn’t a chance in hell of me giving such an affirmation to a n*nce”.
King Charles has never been accused of any sexual impropriety, so it is unclear as to why the Councillor chose to brand him a sex offender. A source said he was “swiftly” suspended from the party and that Labour “does not condone” his views. The tweet was in response to the news Britons will be invited to swear allegiance to King Charles during his Coronation on Saturday.
Beckett will remain on the ballot paper today as a Labour candidate, but if he wins, he will sit as an independent unless the party later decide to lift his suspension.