H&StP: On Comms


AFTER yesterday’s post about Sarah Hayward’s intriguing run for selection in Holborn and St Pancras, former Lib Dem councillor John Bryant was not too fussed about her apparent promise to stick as council leader rather than twisting for a parliamentary race.

Instead, he looks a couple of lines higher and comments on that 2012 pledge email to Labour colleagues: “What is more interesting than her original denial of parliamentary ambition, is the declaration in the cutting on display that Camden Council’s communications should be in line with Labour Party campaigning. This, if implemented as stated, would be illegal, and confirms what the Liberal Democrats complained about on a regular basis.”

The use of publicly-paid comms was a repeated point of frustration in the final days at the Town Hall for some senior Lib Dems with claims that there were too many pictures of cabinet councillors in the magazine, upped in frequency as local elections approached, and a concern that a former Labour council leader had been drafted in to work in the department – albeit for what turned out to be a short-lived stint. John Bryant is questioning here how Sarah draws the line between the council putting out simple and clear information to residents, and promoting the Labour Party locally. 

Throughout this year, these attacks have all been batted away and Labour will say that the result at the ballot box in May – a landslide in which John and every other Lib Dem bar one lost their seat – showed just how much residents were bothered by it. The debate will nevertheless rumble on at the fringes. It always has.


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