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Lib Dems caught misleading voters, again!

A Lib Dem member and former candidate has been criticised for misleading voters. A letter has been sent to Portsmouth people claiming a Lib Dem former candidate is an “independent polling expert”. The letter makes false claims about the choice before electors on Thursday 12 December.

Large numbers of outraged Portsmouth residents have been contacting Stephen Morgan and turning to social media to call out the misleading information widely reported in the national media.

Mike Smithson’s letter, which is being delivered across the Tory-Labour marginal, stated that the race was between the Lib Dems and Tories. The Lib Dems have failed to win the seat in 2015 and again in 2017, with no independent evidence suggesting they are on course to win the Portsmouth South seat in next week’s General Election.

The three most recent constituency polls (YouGov MRP, Best for Britain MRP and Delta) all put current incumbent Stephen Morgan ahead of the Tory candidate, with the Lib Dem trailing badly as low as 11% of the vote share.

Stephen Morgan said:

“I am very grateful to all constituents who have brought this to my attention. This letter insults the intelligence of Portsmouth people. Any voter can see from the tactical voting sites and recent polls that I am only candidate able to beat the Tories on Thursday 12 December.

Sadly this is not the first time in this campaign we have seen attempts to mislead voters and this is yet another example desperate tactics. After this election there will be change in our country. With so much at stake, I call on all candidates of all political persuasions, to do better for our city.

At the start of this election I committed to running a clean campaign. No mudslinging. No dodgy polls. No personality politics. I hope all candidates in our great city will now do the same”.

On social media, those who received the letter called out Mr Smithson who is a longstanding supporter of the Lib Dems and a former candidate.

Attempting to respond to the criticism, Mike Smithson admitted he didn’t agree the list of constituencies included in his letter. He also stated that recent polling had “moved the needle”.

On his blog, published today he said:

“I should explain that while I approved the text of the letters I did not have a prior view of the list of constituencies they were going to.

This was unlike [the General Election of 2017] when a similar exercise was carried out with me approving every single seat on the constituency list”.

He went on: “The YouGov MRP poll and other events have moved the needle. The [Lib Dem] party has given me assurances about the future”.

Responding Andrew Gwynne, Labour’s national campaign co-ordinator said:

“The Lib Dems have no credibility and should apologise for trying to mislead voters.

The last time Jo Swinson and her party were as close to the Tories as these charts claim, they were in government voting for the bedroom tax, privatising the NHS, tripling tuition fees and cutting taxes for the super-rich and big business”.