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.”