Election 2019

Ashfield candidate faces criticism over 'fake door knock'

Michael Crick and Lee Anderson Image copyright Mail +
Image caption Lee Anderson was walking around the constituency with political reporter Michael Crick

An election candidate has been criticised after apparently being caught out setting up a door knock while canvassing in Nottinghamshire.

Lee Anderson, Conservative candidate for Ashfield, was seemingly caught on a microphone arranging to call at a supporter's house.

Full Fact, the political fact-checking site, said such tactics "damage voter confidence in our political system".

Mr Anderson and the Conservative Party have not responded to the BBC.

Image copyright Ashfield and Mansfield Conservatives
Image caption Lee Anderson has made headlines after calling for nuisance council tenants to be put "in a tent in the middle of a field"

Mr Anderson was being accompanied round the marginal seat by veteran political reporter Michael Crick, who now works for the Mail+ website.

They called at a house where the resident not only pledged his support for the Conservatives but also urged Mr Anderson to go further with controversial policies over nuisance tenants.

Afterwards, it was found Mr Anderson's microphone had picked him up phoning the householder ahead of the visit, telling him to "make out you know who I am, that you know I'm the candidate but not that you are a friend".

Mr Anderson had explained the call to the camera crew as "some leaflets have just come for me".

Speaking to BBC Radio Nottingham, Mr Crick described Mr Anderson as a "maverick candidate".

He said: "I couldn't believe it when it occurred on the doorstep, that [the householder] was so extreme, and I said to Lee Anderson, 'It's almost as if all of this has been set up'.

"Mr Anderson said afterwards that he had been trying to make sure that somebody was in - he didn't want us to go to a row of doors and find nobody in."

Will Moy, CEO of Full Fact, said: "What happens on the election trail matters.

"Candidates and parties are asking voters for their trust. They should be making clear and verifiable claims, behaving in an honest manner, and proving themselves trustworthy.

"Misleading campaign techniques from parties and candidates won't only harm those who are caught out, but could damage voter confidence in our political system."

In the 2017 election, Labour held the seat but only with a much-reduced majority of 441.

Who is standing in Ashfield?

  • Conservatives: Lee Anderson
  • The Brexit Party: Martin Daubney
  • Labour: Natalie Fleet
  • Liberal Democrat: Rebecca Wain
  • Green: Rose Woods
  • Ashfield Independents: Jason Zadrozny

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