Cameron threatens to sue over Henley leaflet (yeah, right)

by Stephen Tall on June 20, 2008

The BBC is reporting:

The Conservatives are threatening legal action against the Lib Dems over the Henley by-election. They have written to the Lib Dems over allegations concerning a local community hospital, which they say their candidate has always supported.
Unless the Lib Dems withdraw a leaflet and remove claims from their website by noon, the Tories say they will sue. A Lib Dem spokesman said they would not be withdrawing the comments, adding: “We feel we are on firm ground”.

You can read the story on Stephen Kearney’s website here.

Separately, and more bizarrely (well, the story does involve Boris Johnson), the London Mayor has taken umbrage at a Lib Dem magazine he claims pretends to carry a by-lined article from him. You can view the leaflet here.

As can be seen, the bits which Boris says pretend to be by him are clearly labelled ‘Our view’ (ie, the editorial line of the magazine) – not ‘My view’, still less ‘Boris’s view’.

I’ll eat my hat if the Tories actually do pursue legal action to court on either count: their comments strike me as a way of attempting to distract the Henley Lib Dems campaign team, and to stir things up with the media… it’s almost as if the Tories are feeling a bit rattled. Surely not? After all, PoliticsHome’s panel of 100 experts predicts they’ll romp home with an increased majority.

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But, who exactly is it that owns PoliticsHome? And might that not have influenced their opinion on the matter?

by Miranda on June 20, 2008 at 2:00 pm. Reply #

Good Lord! The second legal threat in a few hours. Better not stand outside the Tories’ lawyers’ revolving doors – you’ll get knocked down by the wind as it spins round and round.

by Paul Walter on June 20, 2008 at 2:39 pm. Reply #

Spoke to Conservative campaigns and as mentioned on my blog: they will be ‘contacting their lawyers and as David Cameron said this morning, taking legal action’

by theChristophe on June 20, 2008 at 2:39 pm. Reply #

Well here is the chairman of PoliticsHome – maybe a slight bias

by Susan on June 20, 2008 at 2:39 pm. Reply #

The leaflet is very cleverly designed – but does seem to have been produced to give the impression that Boris Johnson is endorsing our candidate. (Otherwise, I can’t see the purpose for including the Boris photo and quote at all).

But I’d be surprised if this is legally actionable. I imagine that Cameron’s claims are designed to try and draw attention to supposed “dirty tricks” by us. Don’t know whether this will be successful or not – its certainly generated the first bits of national news coverage about the by-election that I’ve seen so far.

by Mark Littlewood on June 20, 2008 at 5:43 pm. Reply #

I think the purpose of both these threats is to distract attention from the unanswered 12 questions.

by Peter on June 20, 2008 at 8:28 pm. Reply #

I guess you’d better get ready to start chomping on felt then Stephen. Good on Cameron for standing up to LD smear campaigns.

by Andrew Garnett on June 20, 2008 at 9:21 pm. Reply #

A pretty nasty litigious and bullying lot of Tories around those parts.

What is Politics Home? Never heard of it.

by passing tourist on June 20, 2008 at 9:53 pm. Reply #

In my experience people threaten legal action for two reasons:

1. To divert your attention and because they are rattled – provided you are sure of your facts and stick to your argument they go away.

2. Because you are wrong and they are right.

In this case I think they are in the first camp – raising threats and controversy as a smear campaign to get press coverage focused on us rather than them and make our ‘attack’ the story

by Paul L on June 21, 2008 at 12:04 pm. Reply #

So why are the Lib Dems giving the Conservatives a free run in another by-election? Oh, yeah, something about trusting the Conservatives to stand up for civil liberties.

by Mouse on June 22, 2008 at 3:56 pm. Reply #

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