We need to draw to your attention an issue relating to the forthcoming local elections. We were very surprised to see in the election literature circulated by the Conservatives in the Sunbury East ward a claim that candidate Adam Shire “most recently published an article in the December 2010 Lower Sunbury Residents Association newsletter”.
As you know, LOSRA is an apolitical organisation – our constitution sets this out very clearly. We have never provided a platform for political parties, and no article by Mr. Shire has appeared in a LOSRA newsletter. We wrote to Mr. Shire asking for an explanation, since we felt that it was potentially damaging to our reputation if residents felt that our impartiality had been compromised, and pointed out that, contrary to advice in the official “Guidance for Candidates” publication, he had not sought our permission before using LOSRA’s name in the leaflet.
More to the point we were concerned that, given LOSRA’s reputation and profile in the area, there was a possibility that some residents might be persuaded to vote for a candidate who appeared to enjoy some kind of special relationship with LOSRA, and that the election process might be compromised. We put this to Spelthorne’s Chief Executive, Roberto Tambini, who immediately consulted the Electoral Commission, who advised that there was no action that the authority could or should take. We are grateful to Mr. Tambini for researching the matter so speedily.
We have now, a week after the original complaint, received an apology from Mr. Shire for using our name without permission, although no explanation of the original statement has been offered. We had asked Mr. Shire to take steps to inform the electorate that the statement in the election leaflet was inaccurate, but have received no assurances in this regard. We therefore felt that, given the shortness of time before the election, we should let as many people as possible know the facts of this matter via our web site and e-bulletin.