THE race to win seats at Warrington town hall is heating up with both the Lib-Dems and Labour attacking Warrington Conservatives ahead of the Local Elections on Thursday, May 6th.
With less than 48 hours to polling day in the Warrington Borough Council local Elections, both the Lib Dems and Labour issued statements criticising the Conservatives over their choice of election candidates amidst leaked Whats App messages and offensive activity on twitter, while the Tories hit back accusing their opponents of running scared and making incorrect allegations.
Local Lib Dems say the Warrington Conservative Party is not what it used to be highlighting several events that have led to this.
A Co-Chair of the national Conservative Party said, ‘No one should be subject to those abhorrent views. That is why we quickly suspended the individual in question last week when the comments came to light. They are no longer a party member.’
“There were at least two participants in the conversation where these “abhorrent views” were exchanged one of whom is the Chair of Warrington Conservatives.
“The Conservative Party Co -Chair went on to say, ‘I want to let you know our complaints team is looking into all allegations against Warrington Conservatives.’
“But after nearly three months, the complaints team has not made the result of its investigation public. There has been no proper apology for what was said. The Chair of Warrington Conservatives remains in place, and is still running as a Borough Council candidate.”
Deputy Chairman of Warrington Liberal Democrats, Cllr Ian Marks added, “This is not an isolated incident. A Conservative candidate in my own ward in Lymm has been found to have tweeted that he had become a “registered supporter” of the founder of the far-right English Defence League.
“That was accepted as an ‘isolated misjudgement’ by Warrington Conservatives and his candidacy continued. Soon afterwards, a second tweet came to light making extreme discriminatory comments. “Only at this stage did the party drop the candidate, though it is too late to remove his name from Borough and Parish ballot papers.
“Warrington Conservatives are unwilling to say how many of their candidates or activists were previously candidates for parties with a record of using extreme and discriminatory campaign material. Clearly, some of the Warrington Conservatives running in the current election are representative of more extreme right-wing parties, than the Conservatives of old. We would hope that traditional Conservatives will reject the change in character of their local party and will cast their votes elsewhere.”
Meanwhile, Warrington Labour issued a statement saying: “On 3rd December 2019, live on the BBC Andy Carter MP for Warrington South, made the following pledge about abuse in politics:
“We have to call it out, we have to stop it and we cannot have politics conducted in this way in this country because it will drive people out of politics and we will end up with a group of people that are actually not necessarily the best people to be representing us in Westminster or in our Town Hall.”
Marc Rufus, Labour Candidate for Lymm North and Thelwall said: “Warrington Labour totally agrees with Andy Carter’s pledge to call out abuse.
“Firstly, Sharon Thomason was selected as a Conservative Party Council candidate. Her antisemitic trolling of Warrington North MP Charlotte Nichols led to her removal as a Warrington candidate.
“Now the Warrington Conservative Party has been forced to drop Stephen Chadwick as one of their candidates in Lymm North and Thelwall because of extremely offensive tweets he has made’.
Cllr Matt Smith candidate for Culcheth, Glazebury and Croft added: I am amazed that Wendy Maisey is still a Conservative Warrington Council candidate despite making antisemitic, homophobic and disablist comments towards the Warrington North MP. Astonishingly, she is still endorsed by Andy Carter MP, despite his pledge to call out such abuse.
“Why does Wendy Maisey remain a Tory Council candidate when Sharon Thomason and Stephen Chadwick have been axed as candidates?
“Ms Maisey is the Chair of the Warrington Conservative Association. Clearly, she was pivotal in dropping Ms Thomason and Mr Chadwick, for holding extremely offensive views.
“But who vets Ms Maisey when it comes to ‘calling out’ her extremely offensive antisemitic, homophobic, disablist and extremely abusive comments towards Charlotte Nichols MP?’
Marc Rufus added: “Clearly, for the Warrington Conservative Association, holding extremely offensive views does not disqualify everyone from being selected as a local candidate. What appears to stop you from being dropped when your views are exposed, is whether you hold a senior position in the Warrington Conservative Association.
“This is simply not good enough Mr. Carter MP”.
Cllr Smith concluded:”As a Member of Parliament, we expect you to be a man of your word. You are right, “we cannot have politics conducted in this way”.
“Now is the time for you to act, withdraw your personal endorsement of Ms Maisey and drop her as a Council candidate”.
In response a Conservative Party spokesperson said: “The Conservative Party both locally and nationally acted swiftly to suspend Mr Chadwick when the Tweets came to light. It would be improper to comment further about an ongoing investigation.
“Wendy Maisey’s private and confidential WhatsApp messages should have remained private and not have been made public. Warrington Labour’s allegations against Ms Maisey are simply incorrect.
“During the pandemic Wendy Maisey provided food and support for vulnerable members of the community who were, at the time, shielding.
“It is disappointing that both the Liberal Democrats and Labour have used this as an opportunity to attempt to score political points. Instead of trolling Conservative candidates online, Liberal Democrats should focus on reducing Warrington Borough Council’s £1.6 billion debt and providing a proper opposition to the Labour Party.
“The electorate shouldn’t forget that it is the Labour Party with no opposition from an ineffective Liberal Democrat party that got the finances into such a sorry state. Labour has taken the electorate for granted for too long.
“Conservatives have delivered £22m in Town Deal Funding, £5.5m to fix potholes, £3.5m to upgrade Bank Quay Station, £800,000 to help with the Inland Border facility. The Conservative Government has supported the Rugby League World Cup with £10m investment £600,000 was awarded to the council for the new pitch at Victoria Park. That is just the start.
“Liberal Democrats fiercely opposed the Inland Border facility but have recently performed a u-turn.
“There is a huge amount enthusiasm among Conservative candidates right across the Borough to deliver real change at the town hall and break the Labour – Liberal pact.
“The public have a simple choice on Thursday same old Labour and Liberals or real change at the Town Hall.”
A party insider added: “It is clear both the Lib Dems and Labour are running scared ahead of the local elections. Polls by You Gov and from what we are hearing on the streets during our campaigning, there is only one party that can bring change in Warrington and that is the Conservatives.”