A row has blown up between Labour and UKIP in Bolton over a controversial election leaflet which UKIP says contains “blatant lies” about their manifesto.
The Labour Party has distributed thousands of leaflets entitled “Local Voice — Winter 2015” in the run up to the May elections in which they claim that UKIP would charge for GP appointments, scrapping paid maternity leave, more privatisation and cuts in the NHS and raising income tax for families, the Bolton News reports.
In a box on page 2 of the leaflet the left wing party tell voters to “Beware UKIP: They’re not what you think they are” before claiming statements are part of UKIP ideology in a bid to stop losing voters to Nigel Farage’s party.
The party’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Bolton South East, Jeff Armstrong, slammed the electioneering as “peddling blatant lies” and has demanded the Labour party apologise, which they have so far refused to do.
This is not the first time Labour have tried to scare off working class voters by saying the party would charge for primary care services and privatise the NHS. In Essex the party tried to counter the threat of UKIP MEP Tim Aker by accusing the party of wanting to break up the NHS.
Mr Armstrong said this was the second time it had happened to him alone – with the same situation occurring in a local by election which he eventually lost to the Labour candidate.
He said: “Last year, when The Bolton News questioned the Harper Green Labour councillor, she said they made the statements in the full belief it was UKIP policy.
“It seems a sign of desperation over the threat of UKIP that the Labour group keeps trying to con the voting public in this way.”
He said it was “complete nonsense” that UKIP would scrap paid maternity leave and holiday entitlements, and that his party has also committed to spend £3 billion on frontline services in the NHS.
The party’s leader Mr Farage has been keen to highlight a headline tax policy of taking workers earning the minimum wage out of paying tax altogether in a bid to make work pay and allow people to be less reliant on the state.
But the Labour Party is unrepentant, with Cllr Anthony Connell, who appeared on some of the leaflets, dismissing UKIP’s complaints.
Cllr Connell said: “They may well deny it and say they have changed their minds, and they are not the only party to do it. It’s like the saying — a week is a long time in politics.
“I hadn’t realised they were so sensitive. This is part and parcel of politics. I and Labour have had similar attacks and you shrug them off and take it.
“It’s not going to be changed as it’s already been printed.”
UKIP Deputy Chairman Suzanne Evans said: “UKIP has made it crystal clear what our policy is on the NHS: we are 100% committed to keeping it free at the point of delivery; putting in an annual £3 billion cash injection; no charges to see your GP; and an end to Labour’s privatisation measures which are costing the NHS and other public services £300 billion so far.”
“Labour are lying, plain and simple, and they know it. Time and time again both Nigel Farage, myself, and numerous other UKIP spokesmen have told Labour MPs, councillors, candidates and activists both in person and via the media what our true policies are so they have no excuse whatsoever. Their constant lies about UKIP show, in my view, that as a political party, they are morally bankrupt.”
In fact, it was celebrity Labour peer Lord Winston who suggested patients should pay up to £200 every time they see a doctor so they learn to value the NHS.