Drama surrounded this afternoon’s election count for Cheshire West and Chester Council after it emerged police are investigating a flyer attacking opposition leader Cllr Samantha Dixon.
Last night Labour Cllr Dixon’s joy at seeing her party colleague Chris Matheson elected as MP for the City of Chester was tarnished by the upset of being the target of a glossy leaflet headed: ‘DO NOT VOTE FOR COUNCILLOR DIXON’.
The anonymous flyer, posted on election day itself, is understood to have been hand-delivered to the homes of city centre residents, whom Cllr Dixon represents.
Cllr Dixon had feared her chances of retaining her seat may be jeopardised but this proved not to be the case as she has just been re-elected. She has ambitions to become council leader if Labour ends up as the biggest party on CWaC later today.
Police have been knocking door-to-door in a bid to work out the source of the leaflet although it is unclear whether any crime has been committed.
It lists a series of issues including where Cllr Dixon has objected to business schemes, including The Platinum Lounge lap dancing club, with the implication she is not acting in the best interests of the city’s economy.
It concludes: ‘If she gets re-elected can someone place a big light switch on the city, so when the last person leaves, they can switch the lights off.’
John Bottomley, the Chronicle’s former head of sport, posted to our Facebook page: “Annoyed to wake up today to find unsigned leaflet on doormat screaming ‘Do Not Vote For Councillor Dixon’.
“There’s stuff in there voters could find agreement with but whoever cobbled it together should be brave enough to name themselves.
“And criticising her for fighting to stop new bars and restaurants and then shoving this flier through the doors of people living in the shadow of the Pepper Street ‘restaurant quarter’ behemoth is an enormous own goal.”
The Chronicle has also spoken to a couple from the city centre, who wish to remain anonymous, but were both shocked to receive the leaflet and to get a knock on the door from two female policewomen on Thursday evening.
The woman of the house, who said she voted Labour as she always intended to do, was annoyed somebody was seeking to undermine ‘a lady trying to do her best’.
Meanwhile, her husband was concerned as to why the police were involved as he regarded this as ‘heavy handed’ given freedom of speech.
There is no clue as to the origin of the colour leaflet although Simon Harris from the Conservative Party says his group is appalled by what has happened and it is was actually one of their members who notified police.
Cllr Dixon does not wish to comment at the moment but her agent Phil Tate confirmed she had been upset by the attack.
Mr Tate said if it transpires the leaflet has been issued by a political party then the law may have been broken as there was no indication as to its source.
He said: “The police have taken it on board and according to Simon (Harris) have interviewed residents.”
Cheshire Police spokesman Will Harris confirmed the matter was being investigated because an offence may have been committed under the Representation of the People’s Act.
He said: “There may have been some incorrect information on a leaflet and the matter has been referred to the police.”