Labour in Hackney, London have been forced to admit that leaflet featuring “ordinary” residents actually featured pictures of politicians, including the Mayor of Borough. The four page leaflet was put through doors in Hackney as part of the local election campaign.
It claimed to have “asked local residents what is great about Hackney”, according to the Evening Standard. In reality the local residents holding up signs like “the schools”, “cycling” and “the community” were Labour party politicians.
The man with the “the schools” sign is Jules Pipe, he is the directly elected Mayor of Hackney. This means that, unlike in most boroughs, he holds executive power rather than being a ceremonial mayor. He is paid £100,000 a year, including allowances that he draws in his capacity as chairman of London Councils.
The woman holding “the community” Anntoinette Bramble, deputy speaker of Hackney council for which she is paid around £12,000. The Speaker and Deputy perform the ceremonial roles that are carried out by a ceremonial mayor in other boroughs. And the woman holding “cycling” is Feryal Demirci, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, for which she gets £42,500.
Although they are all residents, they could hardly be described as “ordinary”. All three are politicians being paid large amounts of money by the local taxpayer, in one of London’s poorest boroughs. They are all standing for election on 22nd May.
Jack Tinley, deputy chairman of Hackney Conservatives, said: “There is so much more scrutiny over election material these days, I’m really shocked they could be so stupid.
“Instead of going out and engaging with real people to find out what they think, they try to pass off the mayor as a resident, and then tell people what they should think. When are they going to stop treating people like idiots?”
The Liberal Democrat mayoral challenger Simon de Deney said: “The fact Labour believes it can present councillors as members of the public without their being recognised shows how little contact they have with ward residents.”
Labour’s local organiser Tom Dewey said it was more “cock-up than conspiracy”, and that the party “should have been clearer”. However, as a result of tribal voting Hackney is overwhelmingly Labour and it is rare for the party’s incompetence to lose them votes amongst their core supporters.