The letter headed Levelling UP that was published in the Review, is not simply political game playing or campaign rhetoric.

The Letter  was erroneous and simply not true as the FODDC councils’ statement will no doubt explain.

This letter was and remains an attempt by a cowardly individual, who are unwilling to put their identity on record, to damage local democracy and to alter the course of next week’s election because they are clearly bitter and have no concept of decency or truth.

I personally won’t give the author the benefit of denying their ludicrous fabrication but for others, our officers my cabinet colleagues and for our MP, with whom I share no political allegiance or friendship but who alongside those others that I have named has worked so hard and transparently on the whole levelling up bid, I will offer this.

We live in a world where misinformation and online abuse goes with the position of any local government official or councillor . We are almost drilled to expect it and to accept it. It’s become part of the way of things .I am often told I’m too thin skinned and take things to heart but If we allow this sort of behaviour, these malicious actions , these lies to be made public and stated as fact what hope is there for the future? If my 14-year-old son or the young lady at college picking up a copy of The Review, is to see that it’s all ok to say and publish whatever you wish about someone about their character and their conduct simply to try and get them to lose an election . What hope is there of them or their generation even considering getting involved. Why would they ? It isn’t OK , there are laws against it. There is a crime called electoral fraud. We all need to change, and we need to start making a stand.

I may well lose my election  but let me lose fairly me lose truthfully and above all let it be based on what good can be brought to our communities.

I am glad that the council has taken the steps it has taken. That is a matter for the officers of the Council.

I have also spoken to the police  and the Head of Economic Crime Intelligence Directorate has I’m assured , been alerted to the letter and its contents. I’m aware other cabinet members named have done the same. I hope that this attempt to damage and defame the character and conduct of election candidates is fully investigated and the letter be considered potential electoral fraud.

And I hope that the author sits now reading this and considers that soon there may well come a first knock on the door from the police and the electoral commission. 

Tim Gwilliam, Berry Hill Ward Candidate