A ROW has broken out between local political parties over tactics used in the recent council elections.

Representatives from the Conservative, Labour and Green parties, along with an independent candidate, have issued a statement claiming the Liberal Democrats used ‘blatant attempts’ to ‘mislead’ the public during the build-up to the elections in May.

But a spokesman for the local Lib Dems hit back that it was more concerned with working and fighting for local people than ‘trying to score political points’.


The row broke out after a statement was released by James Airey, of Westmorland and Lonsdale Conservative Party, Paul Braithwaite, of the local Labour Party, Gwen Harrison, of Kendal Green Party, and Rob Boden, an independent candidate in Kendal.

They criticised the Liberal Democrats for sending out leaflets which suggested the election of Liberal Democrat councillors was essential for ‘protecting our hospital’.

“Nowhere was it explained to voters that district councillors (and town/parish councillors) do not have the power to decide the future of Westmorland General Hospital,” said the statement.

“Such a blatant and serious attempt to mis-lead the electorate by the Liberal Democrats canot go unchallenged and for this reason our three local parties have taken this unprecedented step.”

But a spokesperson for the Westmorland Liberal Democrats responded: “The council has a key role in shaping our communities, as a member of the council sits on key health committees.

“So rather than trying to score political points, the Lib Dems will keep working and fighting for Westmorland General, like we always have.”

The elections were held on May 23, when local people took to the polls to elect 17 candidates to the 51-seat South Lakeland District Council, as well as vote on town and parish councils.

The Lib Dems held 14 of the 17 seats on SLDC – and Coun Peter Thornton, SLDC Lib Dem leader, said his party had led the charge to protect services while others were ‘conspicuous by their absence’.

He added: “If they’d thought about putting some policies forward, rather than simply attacking the Lib Dems, they might have done better.”