Newly elected Lib Dem councillor gives this excuse after filmed removing Labour Party leaflets

LEAFLETGATE UPDATE:

Earlier we reported how newly elected Newton, Merseyside Lib Dem councillor David Smith has been reported reaching into people’s front doors and removing rival leaflets during the local elections campaign.

After the St Helens local election candidate was recorded on residents’ security cameras appearign to wear dark glasses while surreptitiously removing rival camapaign leaflets, he was reported to Merseyside Police and St Helens Council’s monitoring officer, Jan Bakewell.

The Electoral Commission have also been informed.

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According to the St Helens Star local paper, the newly-elected councillor told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that he removed two Labour leaflets from two properties that were in “poor condition” before pushing his own through.

Cllr David Smith denies doing this at other residences and says he has apologised to the owner of the house in the original security cam video.

Cllr Smith said he has not seen the second video posted on social media but said it “must have been” the second house he removed a Labour Party leaflet from.

He said: “I apologised for any offence I have caused. Looking at it now I should not have taken it out.

“I apologise profusely.”

Earlier we reported that residents of the Merseyside council filmed two incidents we are aware of.

Two security videos appearing to show Labour Party leaflets being removed from properties were posted on social media by residents and shared by Labour Party members.

Local Labour councillor Jeannie Bell who had complained about the alleged activity told us: “I believe it’s been reported to the police and until the police and or election commission investigation takes place it would be inappropriate for me to comment.”

Merseyside Police confirmed they were aware of complaints and had passed them onto the local election monitor.

“This has been flagged to St Helens council,” said a spokesperson for Merseyside Police. “The council’s monitoring officer is aware of the issue and is dealing with the issue now. The police have been made aware of the allegations but there is no criminal investigation as of yet.”

Teresa Sims, Leader of St Helens Liberal Democrat Group would not be drawn on the accusations, saying they were “purely speculation at this time.”

We approached the Liberal Democrat Party for comment and David Smith via the party but he does not have much of a social media presence yet, though we found this image of him in his recent advert in a local paper:

@BenGelblum 

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