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Monday, 14 May, 2001, 13:57 GMT
Anger at Lib Dem net campaign
Controversial Welsh Liberal Democrat website
The website aims to attract Plaid Cymru defectors
The Welsh Liberal Democrats are being accused of underhand tactics after launching a website using Plaid Cymru's name.

The site "www.plaid-cymru.co.uk" appears to be deliberately targeting potential Plaid Cymru voters, urging them to switch vote to the Liberal Democrats.

Welsh Culture Minister Jenny Randerson
Jenny Randerson AM: Defended website

Launched just as Plaid Cymru was unveiling its manifesto for the general election, the site is a clear indicator of how the parties intend to capitalise on the web in getting their message across.

Plaid Cymru has called the move a "cheap stunt" and asked the Electoral Commission to investigate.

Chief Executive Karl Davies said: "Their pathetic attempt to secure the virtual vote demonstrates how fearful they are about their chances of getting any real votes come June 7."

But Welsh Liberal Democrat Jenny Randerson said the website was a legitimate way for the party to get is message across to voters.

"It is a modern response from a very modern party to the days of website campaigning," said Ms Randerson, who is Culture Minister within the Welsh Assembly.

"I dare say others will copy our idea."


It is a modern response from a very modern party to the days of website campaigning

Liberal Democrat and Welsh Culture Minister Jenny Randerson

The site gives web users four reasons to switch from Plaid Cymru to Liberal Democrat when they vote at the 7 June poll.

It also includes the Plaid party logo on its front page - but in the Liberal Democrat colours.

A spokesman for the Electoral Commission said it would not be able to take any action against the Liberal Democrats for using the web address 'plaid-cymru.co.uk', because there are no laws covering the registration of party names on websites.

However, the commission is to ask the Liberal Democrats to register the costs of setting up the site as part of their election expenses.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats are already making heavy use of the net as a campaigning tool.

Last week the party - which is guarding its two rural seats in Wales - launched another site offering advice for rural voters.

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