THE Conservative party in Hillingdon have been accused of playing 'dirty politics' after a leading councillor posted misleading information about a Liberal Democrat candidate.
A senior cabinet member attempted to suggest a Liberal Democrat candidate was currently being prosecuted in court- failing to check that the candidate had been acquitted of the offence nine years ago.
Councillor David Simmonds, deputy leader of Hillingdon Council, (Con) posted on an internet chat site a link to a nine year old news article, without checking his facts, while the Gazette also received a fax last Wednesday from the Conservative Group office.
Councillor Simmonds claims he was simply 'given wrong information'.
The link concerned Yiewsley ward candidate Gay Brown, who was cleared of two charges relating to intimidating badly behaved children in a case which she describes 'should never have made it to court.'
Since 2002 Gay Brown has fought hard for her community in Yiewsley, fighting against Tesco, and even speaking in Parliament about the power of the supermarket.
Councillor Mike Cox, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: "Gay Brown has worked tirelessly for the residents and traders of Yiewsley and to have inaccurate information dragged up after nine years is sickening. No wonder people get put off politics.
"Councillor Simmonds is paid an awful lot of money to look after the interests of children in Hillingdon. I hope he performs that task with more diligence than he does in trawling the internet for dirt on political opponents."
Councillor Simmonds is the cabinet member for education and children's services, is paid £55,000 a year in allowances, and claimed an extra £2,000 in expenses this past year.
The conservative party also have a sizeable majority in Hillingdon, while the Liberal Democrats only currently have two seats on the council.
Gay Brown, who is standing for the Liberal Democrat post in Yiewsley, said: "It is mudslinging plain and simple.
"I should take it as flattery that they think I have a chance of winning.
"To drag out something like this, which is irrelevant, is wrong, I have had five successful CRB checks since, no wonder politics has so much bad publicity."
Councillor Simmonds was backtracking over the row on Monday.
He said: "I don't want to add anything more, I was led to believe the story was current, and did not realise it had an old date.
"If it happened today it would be important, but if its ancient history its ancient history."
• Do you think a £55,000 a year councillor should be engaging in this sort of politics or is all fair in love and politics? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org