Hertfordshire’s Liberal Democrat county councillors take action against Conservative propaganda.
Liberal Democrat Councillors were forced to threaten legal action against Herts County Council after links to the Conservative spokesman’s press release on the unpopular New Barnfield waste development appeared on their County Council webpages.
Councillor Malcolm Cowan, member for Handside and Peartree, who first complained, says ‘I was looking to see information had been published about how I am spending my highways locality budget, but what I found was a link to a highly controversial statement by a leading Conservative about how great it is that an incinerator may be built at New Barnfield in Hatfield. Given I have a very clear, long and public record of opposition to this site being used, I could not believe that this appeared on my web page.
“‘If the County Council publish a web page about a County Councillor, you expect it to contain factual information about them and what they have done, including how allocated money has been spent. What you should not have presented on it is political propaganda for the ruling Tory group. What added insult to injury was being told be the Council’s press team that it was tough and the link would stay”
Leader of the Opposition, Councillor Stephen Giles-Medhurst said “We complained at the highest level, but we had to threaten to take the County Council to court before they would remove the offending article, and even then it took hours for them to do so! This is just not good enough. Part of my role leading the opposition is to hold up Conservative plans to scrutiny. Frankly its unacceptable that council decisions forced through by the Conservatives that we opposed are then put on our web pages implying we supported them! The press team at County Hall should be making sure local people get useful information and news about the Council and it’s services, nothing more, nothing less.
“This matter is far from resolved. I have demanded that no political press releases from the administration are published on Liberal Democrat Councillors web pages”.