I voted Lib Dem at the last election, for my sins, and even delivered leaflets for them in my home constituency of Oldham East and Saddleworth. One of the main reasons for me drifting from Labour to the Liberal Democrats over the past two or three years is that OES’s Labour MP is Phil Woolas is the MP.
Woolas finally was declared the victor in Oldham East after several recounts, by 103 votes. This was after a nasty campaign by Woolas. Labour circulated a mock-newspaper claiming that the Lib Dem candidate Elwyn Watkins was “wooing” the votes of Muslim extremists, and was being funded by a Saudi oil baron. Because, of course, Saudi oil barons are just flocking to fill the coffers of Oldham Liberal Democrats.
Mind you, what else can one expect from a former PPS to Peter Mandelson, and who first fought a by-election in 1995 with a campaign which claimed his Lib Dem opponent was “high on crime and soft on drugs”?
According to Ansari, Elwyn Watkins must prove the allegations were made and that they were false.
Phil Woolas must also either prove the allegations were correct, or that he had reasonable grounds for believing them.
Truly extraordinary, as this is the first legal challenge to a parliamentary result for 99 years. I’m looking forward to see what the court’s decision will be.