Lib Dem Councillor reported to Electoral Commission

Date published: 07 March 2008

Senior figures in Rochdale’s Labour Party have accused the Liberal Democrats of trying to “bribe voters” after it has emerged that one of their campaigning leaflets included an offer of  a 10 per cent discount on clothes from Rochdale’s Cabinet Member for Housing, Councillor Zulf Ali's shop on Yorkshire Street on production of the Liberal Democrat leaflet.

Labour has made an official complaint to the Electoral Commission  - under the Representation of the People Act, the Electoral Commission could now refer the leaflet, which was delivered at the beginning of March, to the police.

“It is a sign of how desperate Councillor Zulf Ali is that he’s offering financial inducements to voters to try and win this election,” said Councillor Ibrar Khan. “If he weren’t standing for election would he be offering this discount?”

The matter has also been referred to Rochdale Council’s Legal and Democratic Service and Councillor Khan added that Councillor Ali’s leaflet was the “height of hypocrisy” considering that he had previously falsely accused the Labour Party of the same tactics.

Rochdale’s Labour Parliamentary Candidate, Simon Danczuk, added that it was the first time he’d ever come across a discount voucher for clothes on a political leaflet. “I would have thought this space would be best used to promote policies and explain how they’re planning to improve living conditions for people in Rochdale,” he said. “Bribing people with a discount on a pair of jeans is just totally desperate.”

Rochdale Online understands the Electoral Commission will be investigating under the offence of 'treating' not bribery.

With the local Lib Dems in Liverpool for this weekend's Lib Dem conference no one was available to comment at the time of publication.

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