Lib Dem Lynne Featherstone threatens police action over ‘false’ Labour leaflets
The Lib Dem minister responsible for introducing same-sex marriage has threatened to go to the police, over a Labour leaflet that makes inaccurate claims about her.
Ms Featherstone, who successfully made the case for equal marriage while a junior Equalities Minister, is fighting a knife-edge battle with Labour for her Hornsey and Wood Green constituency.
However, the politician – who is one of the strongest voices for equality in the House of Commons – has accused her opponents of resorting to smears.
The claim revolves around a leaflet distributed by supporters of her opponent Catherine West, which states she was a Minister in the Home Office in 2013, when Theresa May attempted to tackle immigration with controversial ‘Go Home’ vans.
Ms Featherstone was in fact a Minister in the Department for International Development at the time, and would not move to the Home Office until over a year later.
In a statement, she said: “Many residents received a letter from the Labour party – which contains false information.
“In it they say I was the Home Office minister at the time of the ‘go home’ vans. This is not true.
“My team and I are very upset with the lies and the desperate smears, which are being sent out by the local Labour campaign.
“Just to be clear – at the time the vans went out (July 2013) I was in the Department for International Development, kick-starting the campaign to end FGM and fighting to protect the aid budget.
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“Had I been in the Home Office at this time – those awful vans would not have happened.
She added: “We’re so upset by the lies, that we’ve decided we have to take action.
“I don’t believe politics and elections should be conducted like this. That’s why we’ve asked Labour to stop delivering the letter and issue a retraction to everyone who received it.”
A spokesman for London Labour said the leaflets had been a genuine mistake.
If the race is as close as some experts predict, there could be grounds for further action.
Phil Woolas, the former Labour MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, was initially re-elected in 2010 with a majority of just 103 votes – but the result was declared void when he was found to have made misleading claims about his opponent.