Election lines drawn early as rebel Lib Dems blast coalition

Labour councillor Jeff Fletcher
Labour councillor Jeff Fletcher
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ELECTION lines are already being drawn after a Lib Dem leaflet sparked a political debate in one of the borough’s most hotly contested wards.

A group of local Lib Dems distributed a leaflet across Moss Bank which openly criticised some of the coalition Government’s policies.

The group, which included councillors Carole Kavanagh and David Kent, described the Government’s decision to hike up VAT and university tuition fees and cut council budgets as “appalling”.

Ex council leader Brian Spencer, the leader of the local Lib Dems, declined to comment on the leaflet.

But Moss Bank Labour councillor Jeff Fletcher described it as “a panicky political strategy”.

In a letter, Coun Fletcher wrote: “Now that national politics is getting tough and their party is implementing so many vicious cuts - are the Lib Dems running for cover?

“Suddenly they’re pretending they’re not Lib Dems anymore, dropping the Focus banner, attacking both Labour and the Lib Dems and hiding any reference to their party.”

In last year’s local elections Coun Fletcher unseated Lib Dem Richard Ferry by just over 300 votes.

A by election held a year earlier - following the death of respected Lib Dem councillor Anne Heyes - resulted in a victory for David Kent by a similarly narrow margin.

Coun Fletcher added: “The local Lib Dems have to take their share of the blame for the appalling treatment St Helens is getting. If I was being cynical, I would say this is a panicky political strategy aimed at trying to keep their seats at all costs.”