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Fight Carlisle election on policies not dirty tricks plea

A Carlisle blogger hopes elections will be fought on policies rather than “dirty tricks” after a row erupted over an online column by Labour hopeful Lee Sherriff.

Lee Sherriff photo
Lee Sherriff

The prospective Labour MP published a blog in her own name that was written by a national politician.

Lee Sherriff, named as Labour’s candidate for the next general election, has promised her future blogs would be all her own work – but she hit out at a Conservative city councillor who has bought the rights to a website bearing her name.

Gareth Ellis, the Conservative city councillor for Belah, has defended the move, saying his actions were more “mischief” than dirty tricks.

As the row continued to rage online yesterday, political blogger Michael Brader, a Green Party member from Carlisle, said: “It just seems to be getting petty. It would be nice if the Labour Party would put up a bit more genuine opposition to the Conservatives; and it would be nice if the battles could be fought on policy rather than personality.”

The blog that ignited the row was a spirited attack on the Government’s “bedroom tax” benefit reductions for people who are deemed to be under-occupying social housing. Mr Ellis said that when he read Miss Sherriff’s blog – published on this website – he discovered that only 35 of the article’s 600 words had been written by her.

The work was originally published in Politics Home magazine and credited to the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Liam Byrne.

Mr Ellis retaliated by buying the website domain name, using it to direct people to an online collection of fluffy kitten pictures, though he initially used the site to direct people to the website of Carlisle’s Conservative MP John Stevenson.

He confirmed that the MP was not in any way involved nor even asked about it.

“It wasn’t a dirty trick,” he said. “It was just a bit of mischief. I spotted Lee Sherriff had bought the rights to the .com and .org domain addresses with her name but she didn’t buy”

Have your say

This isn't about settling scores, it is about how badly this stupid prank reflects on the Conservative party and ultimately on the council as a whole. No need to wonder why respect for the council has all but disappeared.

Posted by John on 20 March 2013 at 11:43

Having had a read of the posters whipping themselves up in to a fury about online antics I remembered last weeks article about the Council crushing a man's car without just cause. One Councillor stood out in that article having raised the concern and tried to improve the level of compensation to the resident who had been wronged.

Sadly it was not Councillor Sherriff whose party says it is standing up for the underdog, but Councillor Ellis. I'm sure this forum is a perfect opportunity to settle some scores over a Councillor who has rather shown them up a bit, and I am sure they have loved doing it. It has avoided them facing the credibility issues surrounding Councillor Sherriff's performance.

If the website address was so important to the Labour Party would they not have already bought it?

Posted by James on 20 March 2013 at 09:34

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