‘Smear campaign’ targets Havering councillors and Romford MP
18:00 27 December 2012
Senior figures across Havering’s political spectrum are united in condemning an apparent smear campaign targeting local Conservatives.
A scurrilous home-made calendar was distributed to members of Havering Council in the days before Christmas, with images and text levelling homophobic slurs and other allegations at councillors and Romford’s MP.
The printed and stapled document was posted via Royal Mail to several councillors’ home addresses – as well as Havering’s chief executive Cheryl Coppell and one councillor’s mother.
Among its subjects is Romford MP Andrew Rosindell, referred to throughout as “Air Miles Andy”.
Also depicted throughout the 12 images are four Havering councillors and other political figures, with homophobic speech bubbles and apparently sexual and racial references superimposed over the images.
Some of the text makes insinuations about drug use, and the calendar features two apparently indecent pictures.
Mr Rosindell, who received the calendar at his constituency office, described it as “vicious, nasty stuff” and said there was no truth in any of the allegations made in its pages.
He said: “For someone to spend the days before Christmas doing something so cowardly shows the type of person they are.
“I’ve got better things to do for Romford than worry about such nasty things.”
Council leader Michael White said be believed the calendar had originated outside the Conservative party.
He added he expected the matter to be handed over to police.
“It’s offensive, but Andrew [Rosindell] and I are used to this stuff,” he said. “Where I draw a line is where they start including people’s families. It shouldn’t be going to people who aren’t councillors – they don’t deserve it.
“It’s come from someone outside the party.”
But long-serving Romford councillor Ted Eden (Conservative, Pettits) said the calendar could have originated closer to home.
“I think someone is upset with everybody,” he said, adding the calendar was “shameful”.
Opposition councillors Keith Darvill, leader of the borough’s Labour group, and Denis O’Flynn (both Heaton ward) were among those who received the calendar in the post.
Cllr Darvill called it “distasteful”.
“I wouldn’t show it to my wife,” he added.