‘Dirty trick got my name out there’
8:56am Friday 27th April 2012 in News
THE leader of Bolton’s Liberal Democrat group could potentially lose his seat on Bolton Council — as voters turn against the Coalition Government.
But Cllr Roger Hayes, who is defending his Smithills seat in next week’s local elections, believes an attempted election fraud against him could end up working in his favour.
The alleged fraud, which would have seen two different Roger Hayes on the ballot paper for Smithills, was reported to the police last month, the day before nominations were confirmed.
The matter is still being investigated.
Cllr Hayes said: “I’ve been able to use the slogan, ‘There’s only one Roger Hayes’, and people from all parties were appalled by what happened.
“But they say there’s no such thing as bad publicity and this certainly got my name out there.
“Some people are fed up with what the Government are doing, but then people are also appreciative of what we do locally.
“There’s no doubt that Labour are gaining, but the Conservative vote is reducing considerably.
“In Smithills, Labour has never won, but it will be close this time between Labour and Lib Dems.”
It is the second time in three years Cllr Hayes has been targeted by “dirty tricks”
in the run up to an election. In 2010, police were called in to investigate after someone falsely claimed Bolton’s Lib Dem leader was running a sex club from his home.
Labour’s candidate for Smithills, Kevin Morris said: “Labour has come second in Smithills for the last two years.
“We are biting at Roger’s heels. We have a good chance.
“The Lib Dems are saying that if people vote Labour then they’ll end up with a Conservative but that’s just not true.
“I’ve been knocking on doors and introducing myself to people.
“Some people who voted Lib Dem last year are saying they’ll vote Labour this year, and lapsed Labour voters are saying they’ll come back to us.”
There are 22 seats up for grabs in the elections which take place on Thursday, May 3.