Page last updated at 12:29 GMT, Wednesday, 10 June 2009 13:29 UK

Ridicule over 'vote Labour' plea

Section of the leaflet
The leaflet was sent to people in the Monfieth and Sidlaw ward

Labour has been ridiculed for sending out campaign leaflets urging people to vote for the party in a local election in which it is not standing.

The name of Scottish leader Iain Gray is also misspelled in the pamphlet.

The mistake came about after the party noticed its candidate in Angus Council's Monifieth and Sidlaw ward lived just outside the council border.

He was therefore ineligible to stand, but by that time a leaflet distribution company had already been hired.

It was also too late to find a new candidate to stand in the 25 June council by-election.

The seat was made vacant following the death of SNP councillor Frank Ellis in April.

'Complete disarray'

Angus Labour councillor and depute provost, Peter Murphy, said the mix-up with the leaflet, which referred to the Scottish Labour leader as "Ian Gray" was "a big cock-up" and they apologised for it.

He added that it was a genuine mistake on their part, rather than an attempt to confuse voters.

An SNP spokesman said: "This is one of the worst leaflets I've ever seen, in terms of its content and appearance, even the name of the Labour leader is misspelled.

Section of the leaflet
The name of Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray was also misspelled

"Labour's organisation in Angus is clearly shambolic. This leaflet has been widely distributed and continues to be distributed calling on people to vote for their Labour candidate - although they have failed to find anyone to stand for them in the by-election.

"It is no surprise, that after the SNP's stunning result in the European elections last week, their candidates should start to go AWOL. Their party is in meltdown all across Scotland."

The Liberal Democrats said: "It is disappointing that Labour were unable to field a candidate but it is equally disappointing that the SNP are more focused on national bickering than talking about local issues."

They added that the Lib Dems were focussed on what was best for Monifieth and the Sidlaws, which was "a positive issue-based campaign, not scoring cheap political points".

Murdo Fraser, Scottish Conservative deputy leader, added: "Labour is in meltdown, complete disarray.

"The party is clearly still in shock from its appalling performance in the European and local government elections. There is no direction and no vision from a fatally undermined prime minister.

"This aimless lack of direction and complete inability to function properly is evidently filtering down to all levels in the Labour Party - how else can you explain delivering campaign literature for a non-existent candidate?"

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