Labour candidate Neil Coyle has reported Lib Dem rival Simon Hughes to the police over a ‘false statement’ printed in election leaflets.
Mr Coyle, who unseated Mr Hughes in Bermondsey and Old Southwark in the 2015 general election, has accused the former Lib Dem deputy leader of making a false statement against him which he says was also libellous.
It comes after leaflets, made to look like a newspaper article, were distributed around the constituency with claims Mr Coyle is being investigated by the chief whip for “allegedly being abusive to members of Labour party staff”.
Mr Coyle told the News the statement was “completely untrue” and that there was never an investigation.
“They never said there was an investigation – Nick Brown [Labour chief whip] has clarified this,” he said.
“It’s incredibly disappointing to have to take this course of action; it is an offence.”
He said he asked Lib Dems to stop delivering the leaflets in Southwark a week ago and that he was forced to contact the police after no action was taken.
He wrote to Mr Hughes asking him to “desist from delivering the defamatory material”, to issue a “full agreed apology” to all those who received the leaflet, and to advise what level of compensation he was willing to make.
“I consider that making this statement is in breach of the Representation of the People Act, section 106 as well as libellous,” he said in his letter.
A Lib Dem spokesperson told the News Mr Coyle was denying things that had been widely reported.
“This is campaign misinformation and the Labour candidate is trying to deny things that have been widely reported,” they said.
“Given the positive response Simon Hughes is getting on the doorsteps it is no surprise that Labour has pressed the panic button.
“Simon Hughes has already shown himself to be a hardworking, kind and compassionate MP and re-electing him will once again ensure the constituency has effective representation.”