Lib Dem candidate reported to police by MP over lockdown leafleting in Sheffield

A Labour MP has reported an opposition candidate to the police for leafleting during lockdown in Sheffield.

Monday, 15th February 2021, 4:45 pm

Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts made a formal complaint about Kurtis Crossland, the Liberal Democrat candidate in Mosborough, for breaching Government guidance prohibiting door to door election campaigning.

He reported Mr Crossland to South Yorkshire Police and Director of Public Health Greg Fell after he was seen delivering leaflets on the Westfield estate on Sunday.

Mr Betts said: “I am absolutely appalled. Someone who aspires to be a local councillor should be setting an example not selfishly putting his own interests above the health and safety of residents.

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Kurtis Crossland, the Liberal Democrat candidate in Mosborough

“I believe all those who are carefully following the rules and putting up with personal hardship will be extremely angry that a politician once again thinks there is one rule for everyone else and another rule for them.

“I want the police and council to take action to publicly hold this man to account.”

National lockdown restrictions say you must not leave your home except where essential.

The Government says: “These restrictions do not support door to door campaigning or leafleting by individual political party activists. In order to reduce transmission of Covid infection, door to door campaigning at this point in time is not considered essential or necessary activity.”

The Lib Dems say they spoke with the Electoral Commission and National Police Chief’s Council and “it was clear that volunteering in the right circumstances is both legal and right”.

Mr Crossland said: “As someone who lives on the Westfield estate, I was keen to post a letter to local residents in a Covid secure way to seek their views on their experience with Sheffield Council’s housing repair service which I intend to feed into the ongoing debate in the city on how we improve council housing repairs.

“At a time when residents are worried about crime and antisocial behaviour in the Westfield area, I’m very disappointed that the local MP thinks the police’s number one priority should be to stop a local resident from trying to improve the council housing repair service.

“I do wonder why Clive Betts hasn’t reported to the police every local takeaway that has been leafleting during lockdown if he genuinely believes in a total ban on any kind of leaflets.”

At the other side of the city, Grenoside resident Michael Frizelle said he was very concerned about “dangerous” political activity in his neighbourhood.

He said: “On Sunday a person delivered a political leaflet on behalf of the Liberal Democrats through my letterbox and to all the other houses in my street.

“This person wasn’t wearing a mask or gloves and by the number of leaflets in his hands, he was presumably intending to deliver to a large number of houses.

“I can’t believe that delivering political leaflets could be classed as essential. This will inevitably increase the risk of Covid being spread around our area at a time when we appear to be getting on top of the virus.”