Labour activists in the UKIP target town of Thurrock have been criticised by Nigel Farage’s party for beginning a political campaign before the funeral of Andy Smith, a local councillor whose death triggered the by-election.
Smith, who died at 64 in early August, was the Labour leader of the council between 2000 and 2004. Colin Ricks, head of Thurrock’s Labour Party said: “On behalf of Thurrock CLP I would like to extend the party’s sympathy to Andy’s family. He will be sorely missed by party members and his fellow councillors.”
But it seems that what also won’t be missed is an opportunity for Labour to get a head start in political campaigning – a development that is usually saved for after the funeral out of respect.
Breitbart London has seen a Labour Party leaflet which uses the death of Mr Smith as its headline, then proceeds to attack UKIP for policies that the party doesn’t even stand for – like wholesale NHS privatisation and a flat tax, the latter idea being a former UKIP policy that was abandoned after the last election.
UKIP MEP and candidate for Thurrock, Tim Aker, has slammed Labour, who were this weekend campaigning for the West Thurrock and South Stifford by-election before the funeral of Councillor Andy Smith.
Tim Aker MEP said: “We in UKIP made the clear moral choice out of respect to Andy Smith, his family and friends not to campaign in the ward until after his funeral.
“The fact that Labour are already putting out leaflets that promote their new candidate and attack UKIP is in my view, shocking and completely inappropriate.
“We all know that Labour’s Polly Billington is scared stiff of UKIP’s rise in Thurrock. But this really is a brand of desperate politics that represents the lowest of the low.
“UKIP will not be campaigning in West Thurrock and South Stifford until after Andy Smith’s funeral.”