Tories deny attempt to woo Labour pair

Coun Kath Benson
Coun Kath Benson
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A row has broken out after Labour activists were approached by email to see if they wished to stand for the Tories at the next local elections.

Layton Labour councillor Kath Benson and the party’s Blackpool North and Cleveleys constituency secretary Joanne Cooper were among those surprised to be contacted by the area’s Conservative association with the proposal.

They believe their email addresses had been given to the association after they had been in contact with MP Paul Maynard’s constituency office.

Coun Benson said: “I find it slightly amusing they are contacting Labour councillors asking them to stand for the Conservatives.

“From being 18 years old I’ve been a Labour member.

“I’m in Paul Maynard’s constituency so I’ve probably taken part in surveys in the past, but do they not check who they are sending their emails to?”

However, Mr Maynard, said it made it clear when people give their details how they will be used –and who they will be passed on to.

He added that people can easily unsubscribe if they choose to.

Ms Cooper said: “I have been receiving emails from Paul Maynard for a long time, which I think is legitimate because he is my MP.

“But I’m not happy if my details have been passed onto the Conservative Party association.

“They are supposed to be separate entities. For me it’s a data protection issue.”

Mr Maynard said it was clear how people’s information was to be used when they handed over their personal details.

He added: “Over the last decade or so the local party has delivered tens of thousands of surveys, newsletters, and email sign-ups in the local area.

“Each one has the appropriate wording that says information will be used by the Conservative Party, BNCCA, and Paul Maynard.

“If people no longer wished to receive this information there is an appropriate mechanism to easily unsubscribe.”

And, defending the use of the mailing lists to send out the invitations for people to stand as prospective election candidates, he said: “The Conservative Party welcomes application from all people to stand for election as Conservative candidates, it is legitimate to make people aware of that fact and to get a wider pool of people as possible to stand and take on this badly run Labour council.”