Welwyn Hatfield Liberal Democrats apologise for sending election campaign letter to the late Mandy Perkins
PUBLISHED: 12:41 09 November 2018 | UPDATED: 10:19 11 November 2018
A Liberal Democrat election campaign letter has been sent to the late Mandy Perkins - the councillor whose tragic death triggered the by-election.
Last week, a campaign letter landed on the doormat of the late council leader’s widower, David Perkins, less than 48 hours after Mandy’s funeral and addressed to both of them.
Much-missed Conservative council leader Mandy Perkins died of cancer at the tragically young age of 62, on September 29 this year.
Her passing has triggered a by-election in her ward of Welwyn West, due to take place on Thursday, November 29.
Candidates from the three main parties have stepped in to campaign for the seat: Conservative Paul Smith, Labour’s Josh Chigwangwa, and the Liberal Democrats’ Christina Raven.
Ms Raven’s letter sent to David Perkins, as part of a mass-mail, opened with: “It is always sad when someone dies.”
It then went on to pay tribute to Cllr Perkins before several paragraphs explaining Ms Raven’s connections to the area, saying: “I would welcome the opportunity to serve you as councillor.”
The missive concludes with an invitation to fill out an enclosed opinion survey.
On November 8, Welwyn Hatfield Liberal Democrats told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “We are deeply sorry for any distress caused to David by the accidental delivery of our campaign letter, which was certainly unintentional, no matter how sincere the condolences.
“There were volunteers from outside the area who would not have known David’s address, and we acknowledge that it was inappropriate and insensitive to include a letter to David in the delivery rounds.
“We would however like to gently point out that out of respect our party did refrain from campaigning of any kind until after Mandy’s funeral.
“Apparently there were well known Conservatives campaigning in the area several days before the funeral took place.”
In response to this, a spokesperson for the Conservatives confirmed that they had indeed done some campaigning prior to the funeral, with people who included Mandy’s friends, and with Mr Perkins’ blessing.
They added: “The main issue here is that [the Liberal Democrats] had put a letter through the door of a woman who had just been buried.”
Mr Raven hand-delivered a letter of apology to Mr Perkins on November 9. “I was glad to be able to apologise to him in person, for which he thanked me most graciously,” she said.