Keeping Residents Informed and Volunteers Safe in Lockdown


Statement from West Northamptonshire Liberal Democrats

26th Jan 2021

Local Conservatives have made allegations that West Northamptonshire Liberal Democrats have been breaking the current lockdown restrictions by continuing to use volunteers to deliver our campaign literature and in particular our new ‘Northamptonshire Citizen’ newspaper.
We want to be clear that we have at all times been following the public health guidance with respect of keeping residents and our own volunteers safe.
 
We suspended using volunteers to deliver our newspaper when the latest lockdown was announced, except in a couple of areas where we paid for commercial delivery. This complies with the current advice which was further updated this week.
 
Lib Dem councillors and volunteers have continued delivering other useful information to residents in some areas. This has included Covid-19 specific information, advice and useful contact numbers such as the local COVID helpline number. We see this as an important part of our role in representing and supporting our local community and our residents, particularly those residents who do not have access to online information.
 
The Northampton Chronicle & Echo newspaper has also criticised us for producing a tabloid style leaflet and suggested it contributes to ‘fake news’. We first started producing tabloid-style leaflets in Northampton in the 1980s. This is nothing new and has been used by other political parties and in fact some businesses as a means of creating interest. Anyone reading our paper would be very clear from the outset that it is from the Liberal Democrats. We reference our website in the first article, and it only runs to 4 pages, and “Liberal Democrats” are mentioned at least 15 times. As required we also provide our contact details as the publisher.
Most of the remaining newspapers in this country, like the Chronicle & Echo, are owned by large business groups with often obscure interests and connections. With many national newspapers being known for their political bias. 
We urge people to judge for themselves by reading our newspaper here.
 
The only negative comments about the paper have come from other political parties and the Chronicle & Echo. Claims that residents would mistake our tabloid for a local newspaper are simply not credible.
We are trying to make local politics more engaging and involve more people by using different ways to communicate. There are elections due this year. In a democracy such as ours we believe that residents have the right to information and views about how their council is and should be run. Liberal Democrats communicate with residents all year round and not just during election periods.
Sometimes other political parties don’t recognise the difference between campaigning and working to inform residents.
This is an important year for Northamptonshire with two new councils being created as a result of past failures. Residents must be provided with information to help them understand what has happened and we will work hard to continue to do so whilst complying fully with current guidelines.

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