Politicians claim council pier announcement may have deliberately benefitted Labour Party

6th May 2024

Opposition councillors in Southport have hit out at Sefton Council claiming their latest Southport Pier news in the build up to the local election was designed to benefit the Labour Party.

Councils are not allowed to publish any media that could be seen to promote a particular political party or political message.

Lib Dem leader Cllr John Pugh says timing of The councils announcement about ‘appointing’ a contractor for the pier refurbishment raised suspicions.

“We are quite used to seeing the Council’s Press Department being used as the propaganda arm of the Labour administration”, says Cllr John Pugh, Liberal Democrat Opposition leader on Sefton ,” but during election periods the Council are prohibited from putting out politically sensitive information under Section 2 of the Local Government Act.

“No-one is going to pretend that the repair of the Pier was not a hot political topic during the elections and I am surprised that council officers co-operated with what looks like an attempt to persuade the electorate that there has been a significant development. The reality is that there still no money earmarked to fix the PIer and no-one has a clue when it will re-open.

“The rules on council publicity during local elections are there to ensure that council tax payers’ money is not used to support any political party and this looks like a breach of it to me which, I think should be referred to the Local Authority Ombudsman.”

OTS approached Sefton Council’s communications team who told our reporter they were well aware of restrictions around the election period, adding they had no concerns over the release in question.