Saturday, June 20, 2015

'Dirty tricks' row in Liberal Democrat leadership election

From the Telegraph website this evening:
Liberal Democrat leadership hopeful Norman Lamb is at the centre of a ‘dirty tricks’ row after party memberships lists were used to conduct negative polling about his arch rival Tim Farron, The Telegraph can disclose. 
The Information Commissioner, the information watchdog, is set to be asked to investigate whether there was a breach of data laws in a move which could land the party with heavy fines. 
Mr Lamb told The Telegraph on Saturday that he had suspended the individuals behind the polling from his campaign. A LibDem spokesman said that the party had commenced formal disciplinary action against the pair. 
According to party sources they are Gavin Grant, the partty's Western Counties regional chairman and a former chief executive of the RSPCA charity, and Mark Gettleson. 
Mr Grant told The Telegraph that he supported Mr Lamb but denied any involvement in the polling row. Mr Gettleson could not be reached for comment.
Ah well, it's not a proper leadership election without a row like this.


Anonymous said...

Well, those of us who attended the Western Counties hustings a little while ago chaired by ... Gavin Grant ... would have liked to have been told he was on the campaign team for one of the candidates!

Theo Butt Philip said...

I wasn't there and didn't know that Gavin chaired it. Setting aside the lack of impartiality, given that rule one of the Hustings Rules - Leadership Election 2015 states, "The choice of Chair should help balance the platform (including the candidates) to reflect the diversity of the Party." I wonder how Gavin was thought to be a suitable person to help with that balance (and who made that decision).

Steve Comer said...

The Western Counties hustings was chaired impartially, although Gavin Grant did talk far too much.
I was a little concerned that the two 'warm up' speakers chosen - former Lib Dem MPs Stephen Williams and Tessa Munt, both also appeared on the leaflet endrosing Lamb being handed out by his campaigners after the meeting. There were two other ex-MPs present (Duncan hames and Jo Swinson)who are known Farron supporters and it might have been better if one of them had been asked to speak.

Dan Falchikov said...

But according to Lib Dem Voice Grant and Gettleson are simply 'volunteers'.

However, their campaign would have run into the thousands given they commissioned private market researchers (hence the breach of data protection legislation) and given their backgrounds and closeness to previous leaders and the party's central operation - if Lamb really didn't authorise it then it doesn't say much for his competence to allow it to happen under his nose.