Row over political newsletter sent out during pandemic

Hellesdon councillor David King, who has criticised the Liberal Democrat group for sending newsletters

Hellesdon councillor David King, who has criticised the Liberal Democrat group for sending newsletters - Credit: Antony Kelly

A complaint has been lodged against a political group after it sent a newsletter around houses in a city suburb while the region was in Tier 4.

The Liberal Democrat group in Hellesdon sends a quarterly newsletter to households called Focus, which shares examples of projects the group has worked on, with the latest edition also including a New Year's message from Broadland councillor David Britcher.

However, the latest newsletter has resulted in a complaint being lodged with Hellesdon Parish Council, amid concerns about it being delivered during the Tier 4 restrictions.

With the nation now in a lockdown, though, Mr Britcher said future deliveries had been called off.

David King, a Conservative councillor in Hellesdon, said: "My view is that delivering leaflets door-to-door while the message is to stay home is very socially irresponsible.


You may also want to watch:


"As councillors, we are supposed to be leading by example and only making essential trips, so it doesn't feel particularly right to me. I do not see delivering political leaflets as essential travel and I would not ask any volunteers to do it."

David Britcher, Liberal Democrat councillor for Hellesdon south east

David Britcher, Liberal Democrat councillor for Hellesdon south east - Credit: Broadland Lib Dems

But Liberal Democrat Mr Britcher, who represents Hellesdon south-east on Broadland Council, said: "The delivery of the Hellesdon Focus Winter Edition was undertaken in line with the guidance given by the central office of the Liberal Democrats.

Most Read

"As you will appreciate, the delivery of Focus leaflets to the whole of Hellesdon can take several days to complete.

"Following the prime minister's announcement on Monday, January 4, I contacted all the Focus deliverers at 8.33pm and stopped further delivery until such time as I receive clearance from the central office of the Liberal Democrats to resume."

Delivery of the leaflets began around Christmas Eve and continued until the PM's announcement of a third national lockdown.

When deliveries began, Hellesdon, like the rest of Norfolk, was under Tier 2 restriction, before being moved into Tier 4 from Boxing Day.

Meanwhile, guidance on canvassing issued by the Electoral Commission last year did not prohibit the delivery of political leaflets through letterboxes, nor is there any legislation preventing this from being done.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus