Voter demands apology from Councillor Ralph Cook over Labour election leaflets row

March 22, 2013 3 Comments »
This campaign leaflet has been the subject of the row between Coun Ralph Cook and Paul Seligman.

This campaign leaflet has been the subject of the row between Coun Ralph Cook and Paul Seligman.

A Cardiff resident has demanded a public apology from the council’s deputy leader in a bitter dispute over Labour’s election leaflets.

Paul Seligman claims Councillor Ralph Cook was wrong to describe the city resident’s recollection of a controversial Labour campaign flyer as“entirely incorrect”.

The 61-year-old says he is considering making a formal complaint over the cabinet member’s comments, which he claims were an unfair attack and showed a “lack of respect”.

But Coun Cook has dismissed Mr Seligman’s complaints, saying he was not “disrespectful” towards him.

The row, which has played out across the letters pages of the South Wales Echo, has focused on a Labour flyer sent to Fairwater and Pentrebane households during last year’s election campaign.

The leaflet pictures a group of children holding Labour placards in a field with a headline proclaiming: “Labour does NOT want to build on greenfields”.

Opposition parties have previously criticised the leaflet, claiming Labour misled residents over its Local Development Plan (LDP). Labour’s draft LDP Preferred Strategy document suggests 45,400 new homes are needed by 2026, including 18,000 homes on undeveloped green spaces in the city’s north and west.

In a letter to the Echo, Mr Seligman recalled the flyer as showing “candidates standing in the fields next to Pentrebane” with “placards saying ‘Labour will never build here’, or words to that effect”.

Coun Cook’s written response read: “Paul’s recollections are entirely incorrect. While all three [leaflets] included colour photographs of people in fields, the placards had only the Labour Party logo emblazoned upon them. None had text stating ‘Labour will never build here’, ‘or words to that effect’.”

Mr Seligman, a quality manager for an IT company, said he was unfairly criticised by Coun Cook and said his recollections of the disputed flyer were “substantially correct”.

Mr Seligman, of Fairwater, who is not a member or supporter of any political party, said: “We are all allowed to have our views and opinions but you shouldn’t attack someone for saying something is incorrect when it’s correct. I would like Coun Cook to accept that my recollections are not totally inaccurate – they’re substantially correct.”

Coun Cook said: “His statement about the leaflet was incorrect and that’s a fact. I don’t know what his problem is.

“Telling him he’s entirely incorrect is not disrespectful.”

When asked whether he felt the leaflet was misleading, Coun Cook said: “Ultimately, one leaflet delivered in one area of Cardiff was a bit unclear and we addressed that.”

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  1. RedRoy March 22, 2013 at 4:05 pm - Reply

    People, you get who you vote for. And on this occasion you've returned the bullies to the school yard.

  2. Plas Mawr March 24, 2013 at 2:41 pm - Reply

    True RedRoy, but people didn't know they were voting in a candidate who's pro building all over Waterhall considering he specified in that flyer that he most certainly wasn't. Well I fell for it anyway. And Councillor Cook casually dismissing it as “one leaflet delivered in one area of Cardiff was a bit unclear and we addressed that” is pretty disgraceful considering the assurances in that leaflet will've secured many votes (under false pretences). I must've missed the leaflet that "addressed that."

  3. Mr Greenway March 25, 2013 at 5:32 pm - Reply

    Councillor Cook and his chums simply did not tell the people of his constituency that a great big wind turbine was going to be erected in view of all in Trowbridge, St Mellons and Rumney and most of east Cardiff. And documentation exists that he knew and kept it to himself along with other local councillors I would like to him deny that one. As mentioned you voted these people in what did you really expect long forgotten the days of Russell Goodwage but now they are back .They as you are finding out are simply not to be trusted.

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