Tories embroiled in Blackpool election row as campaign highlights former leader they dropped
A row has broken out over a Conservative party campaign leaflet praising the legacy of former councillor Peter Callow – despite the party dropping him as a candidate at the last local elections.
Coun Maxine Callow said she was upset to see her late husband’s name used in a bid to win his former seat, when the Conservatives had “slung him on the scrap heap” at the 2019 elections.
Maxine and Peter Callow went on to hold their seats in Norbreck ward after standing as non-aligned independents.
A by-election is being held in the ward on May 6 following the death of former council leader Peter last November.
In her election literature Conservative candidate Julie Sloman says: “We are all sad at the passing of Peter Callow, the longstanding former councillor, and I would like to begin by paying tribute to the efforts he made for us all.
“My aim, if elected, would be to continue to build on and hopefully surpass his contribution for the betterment of our area.”
But Coun Callow said she was “disgusted by the audacity” of the Conservatives in using her husband’s name in their election literature.
She said: “They slung him on the scrapheap, along with me. He wasn’t considered good enough to represent the Conservatives at the last local election campaign.
“But now they are using his name to try and get the sympathy vote and get their candidate elected.”
Peter and Maxine Callow were deselected by the Blackpool North and Cleveleys Conservative Association ahead of the 2019 council elections having held Norbreck seats for 20 years and 16 years respectively for the Tories.
Ms Sloman said the reference to Peter Callow in her election literature “was a personal message from me as a candidate.”
She said: “I hold both Maxine and the late Peter Callow in very high esteem, and I got involved in local politics in 1997 because I was inspired by two women in politics who were Sue Wright and Maxine.
“Having been a bit disengaged from the Conservative party for a few years, I only rejoined less than two years ago so had nothing to do with the Conservative group when previous decisions were made.”
She added if she was elected, she hoped to “have a really positive relationship” with Coun Callow.
The other candidates standing in Norbreck ward are: Pam Haslam (Independent); Julie Jones (Labour), and Simon Jowitt (Liberal Democrat).
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