Ex-Labour councillor now Tory ‘Witchfinder General’ attacks his old party over Hatfield ‘jibes’

@MHWitchfinder's Twitter profile picture

@MHWitchfinder's Twitter profile picture - Credit: Archant

A former Labour councillor has sparked a row after claiming his old party sees Hatfield residents as “fifth class citizens”.

@MHWitchfinder's Twitter profile picture

@MHWitchfinder's Twitter profile picture - Credit: Archant

The accusations were first made by Sam Smith, using a Twitter alter ego ‘Matthew Hopkins’ – a reference to the 17th Century historical figure the Witchfinder General.

Cllr Kieran Thorpe

Cllr Kieran Thorpe - Credit: Archant

Mr Smith, now a Conservative Party member, stood in 2003 in Hatfield East, and later became a Labour councillor for Haldens, in Welwyn Garden City.

UNMASKED: Sam Smith AKA The Witchfinder General

UNMASKED: Sam Smith AKA The Witchfinder General - Credit: Archant

Clarifying his tweets, he told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “When I was a Labour candidate for Hatfield, we campaigned that Labour cared about the people there, but in reality the party’s contempt for them was barely hidden.

“A leaflet we printed said that the people of Hatfield would not be second best.

“The private joke amongst the Labour Party apparatchiks at the time was that they were indeed not second class citizens but ‘at least fifth class’, after Welwyn Garden City, Welwyn North, Old Welwyn, Essendon etc.

“This contempt of Labour for the votes they took for granted is one reason I switched parties.”

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But the claims were rejected by Labour group leader, councillor Kieran Thorpe, who said: “As someone who campaigns with the Conservative Party, Mr Smith is free to voice his opinions as he sees fit, though I completely disagree with them in this instance and he is quite wrong.”

He added: “I am sure residents of Welwyn Hatfield, should they be minded to read anything he has to say about the Labour Party, will do so with more than a pinch of salt to hand.”