Candidates cast the wrong way round

IT’S comforting to know that the infallible Terry Prone can also be guilty of some journalistic howlers.

She claims in her column (November 8) that Phil Woolas, who has been banned from the House of Commons, was a Liberal Democrat candidate in the last British general election.

In fact, Woolas was elected as the Labour party candidate, but an appeal to the High Court by the Liberal Democrats’ candidate in the same constituency, Elwyn Watkin, has resulted in Woolas being suspended as an MP and barred from holding public office again for three years.

The court upheld Watkin’s claim that Woolas had produced printed material (what political parties like to call “literature”) during the election campaign that was untrue and in breach of the Representation of the People Act 1983.

In a further clanger, Terry Prone also claims Elwyn Watkin was a former minister in Gordon Brown’s administration. Not true, although Woolas was indeed a former minister of state for borders and immigration. I would agree with her, however, that similar legislation in this country, if it doesn’t already exist, would be worthwhile for two reasons. First it would curtail political fibbing and, second, it would empty the Dáil of most of its present occupants.

Nick Nolan


Co Limerick

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