BBC News: Election 2010 BBC News

Page last updated at 11:06 GMT, Wednesday, 14 April 2010 12:06 UK

Stroud Labour candidate David Drew in 'green' ad row

Newspaper advert featuring David Drew
Adverts were placed praising Mr Drew's green credentials

The Green Party says an advert placed in Gloucestershire local papers wrongly suggests Stroud Labour candidate David Drew is being endorsed by it.

In the advert a number of people praise Mr Drew, who had been Stroud MP for 13 years, for his green credentials.

The advert does not mention that Mr Drew is a Labour candidate - but he claims it is not misleading.

The Green Party said the advert was confusing to voters and a "dirty trick".

'Confusing people'

The advert is promoted by Ron Bailey, former national campaigns officer for the Green Party, on behalf of Mr Drew.

At the last general election, the Green Party got 3,000 votes in Stroud.

Green parliamentary candidate Martin Whiteside said: "To see this full page advert in green type saying he is a green MP is confusing people; the Greens seem to be asking people to vote for David Drew.

"That shocked us and made us feel this is a bit of a dirty trick."

But Mr Drew said voters would not be deceived by the advertisement.

He said: "I am a green [Labour] MP, that's what I was, that's what I want to be again.

'Sterner stuff'

"Voters will not be misled, they know who I am and what I stand for, that advert isn't going to make a jot of difference."

Conservative candidate Neil Carmichael said: "The Conservative party is really a green party. David Drew is looking at the Green Party to try and get more support for himself just as he did with UKIP.

"The Green Party are made of sterner stuff, they are truly a national party in their own eyes and they will campaign hard in this constituency."

Liberal Democrat candidate Dennis Andrewartha said: "Our credentials at all levels - council, in parliament and certainly in Europe - are extremely green."

Steve Parker, the UKIP candidate, has asked people to vote for Mr Drew if possible due to his eurosceptic views. Mr Parker said he will continue to seek votes from people who oppose EU membership but do not wish to vote for the Labour Party.

Candidates announced so far to contest Stroud are: Liberal Democrats: Dennis Andrewartha; Conservative Party: Neil Carmichael; Labour Party: David Drew; UK Independence Party: Steve Parker; Green Party: Martin Whiteside.

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