Romford Conservatives falsely quote residents in newsletters
15:10 13 May 2014
The Romford Conservative Association (RCA) has been criticised for its election newsletters which have falsely quoted residents.
To one man’s outrage he was quoted as insulting Barking and Dagenham - where his family live.
The newsletters were sent to wards across the Romford constituency and claim to contain messages from local residents.
Thomas Waller, 62, of Garrick House, appears to say in the Hylands leaflet: “People in this area do not want Havering turning into another Barking and Dagenham.”
But speaking to the Recorder he said: “For the life of me, I didn’t say it and I would never have said it.
“My daughter and grandchild live in Barking and Dagenham, my wife was brought up there. There’s no way I would’ve said it.
“I’m totally not happy at all with what’s been said.”
He said that Tory Cllr Gary Pain and candidate Carol Smith took his photo as he was handing out leaflets at his sheltered accommodation while the woman who usually does so was sick.
He agreed for them to write a quote for him, but he was promised that they authorise it with him first.
However, the first he heard of his message was when a friend showed him the leaflet.
“I’m certainly not a member of the Conservative party,” he said. “My dad would turn in his grave if he thought I was,”
He also said that he did not even know about the issue he was supposedly talking about in the leaflet.
Cllr Osman Dervish, chairman of the RCA, described it as a “mix-up” and that Mr Waller’s quote had been switched with the residents’ below about Hylands Park because Mr Waller had been involved with it.
But Mr Waller rubbished that. He said: “I have nothing to do with Hylands Park - I work with Harrow Lodge Park.
“How many other people have not said what’s on the leaflets?”
Cllr Dervish also defended the practice of writing quotes for the residents.
He said: “They were all asked how they felt about the quotes.”
But restaurant owner Solly Ahmed is also quoted as insulting the “left-wing Labour crowd” and denies saying this.
He said that as a businessman he is politically neutral and even hosted a party for Labour’s Dagenham and Labour MP, Jon Cruddas, a couple of months ago.
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