Tories’ St Austell & Newquay candidate in ‘D***h***d!!!’ smear storm

by Stephen Tall on October 25, 2009

Lib Dem blogger Matt Davies reports on a clumsy attempt by Tory PPC for St Austell & Newquay, Caroline Righton, to extract political advantage from her Lib Dem opponent, Stephen Gilbert – but, unfortunately, without trying to check her facts first.

Ms Righton accused Stephen of calling her a ‘D***h***d!!!’ on Twitter in an email to residents. Except that he didn’t. And as Matt explains, it’s hard to know how Ms Righton could have failed to realise this before broadcasting her allegation:

She might not have liked Steve highlighting their different priorities when it comes to helping local residents or getting on the radio, but it is obviously an outrageous smear that she is telling people that Steve made an offensive comment on his Twitter – which is open for anyone to look at!

She also suggests that she couldn’t see what Steve wrote herself, although the screenshot here shows that she has an account and that Steve is in fact one of six people she is ‘following’. She has even Twittered herself about the radio debate that night. So it wouldn’t have been hard for her to check her facts before she sent out this underhanded smear to residents.

So, what I think Caroline needs to tell us is if she knowingly lied as part of a very deliberate smear campaign – or was it just stupidity in adding in the rude word which presumably a fellow Tory and supporter added to Steve’s Tweet (either as their own offensive comment or as part of a deliberate smear campaign)?

Steve’s office has asked her to set the record straight with the local residents she sent this email to and to apologise for it – as, four days later, they have had no response, I think this deserves a wider audience! We’ll hopefully get an explanation from the St.Austell & Newquay Conservatives at some point…