Row erupts over 'secret green papers' leaflet in run-up to Horwich by-election
COUNCILLORS have reignited a furious row over leaflets in the run up to a by-election.
Members of Labour and the Liberal Democrats clashed at a meeting of Horwich Town Council when Labour leader Kevan Helsby complained about a Lib Dem leaflet used in the run up to the recent Brazley Ward by-election, which was won by Labour’s Kevin McKeon.
The leaflet, entitled “Labour’s secret papers exposed” claimed that the Labour-dominated town council wants to make council documents more secret, by proposing a raft of new colours for its documents, including green paper for confidential items.
The Horwich Labour group reacted angrily to the flyer, with Cllr Helsby stating that the plans were simply an administrative issue.
He said: “I’ve already explained twice that the only change would be that any confidential item will be on green paper.
“This does not mean there are going to be more confidential items. Other councils, including Bolton Council do this and so we are adopting the same processes.”
At the meeting, Cllr Helsby asked Stephen Rock, the leader of the Lib Dems on Horwich Town Council to apologise for the leaflet, an offer that Cllr Rock did not choose to take up.
He said: “They say they are following Bolton Council but Horwich is a town council and that is different — we think everything within reason should be open to the public.”
Cllr Helsby accused the Liberal Democrats of “lowering the tone” with their election campaign — which also included a leaflet criticising Horwich and Blackrod Ward coun-cillor Lindsey Kell because she now lives in Oxford.
He said: “Unfortunately there has been a procession of these things from the Liberal Democrats.”
But Cllr Rock said that Labour were trying to “score political points” by bringing the issue up at the town council meeting.
He added: “It wasn’t on the agenda and shouldn’t have been discussed — but politics is politics and if they can’t take it, they shouldn’t give it out.”
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