Councillor denies smearing gay Lib Dem
A Labour councillor has said she totally refutes charges that she made false statements about the personal life of her gay opponent.
Miranda Grell, 28, won a formerly safe Lib Dem seat on Waltham Forest council in last May’s elections.
Her opponent Barry Smith is now at the centre of a prosecution being brought against Ms Grell.
She has been charged with “making a false statement of fact about Mr Smith’s personal character or conduct,” contrary to election law.
Ms Grell has issued a statement on her website:
“I refute these allegations in their totality. I have had to live with various attempts to smear my good name since last year’s election.
“Despite this very serious attempt to try and impede me in the work I am trying to do as Leyton ward’s local councillor, for me, allegations or no allegations, it’s business as usual.”
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When contacted by PinkNews.co.uk, she denied the allegations but refused to comment until after her court appearance.
Ms Grell is to appear at Waltham Forest Magistrates Court on Tuesday to answer charges under the Representation of the People Act 1983.
It is understood that the CPS have witnesses who claim Ms Grell made allegations about Mr Smith’s sexuality. The Evening Standard newspaper quotes sources who say it was wrongly alleged that Mr Smith is a paedophile.
Ms Grell, who works in City Hall as a researcher for London’s Deputy Mayor Nicky Gavron, has a strong support base in the Labour party, and is viewed as a high-flyer.
Gavin Hayes, general secretary of Compass, a progressive movement within Labour, said that as a gay man he fully supported Ms Grell, who is on the Compass management committee.
“Miranda has always been a consistent campaigner for equal rights for all and these allegations are purely intended to smear her good reputation as a grass roots campaigner and a champion of equality,” he said.