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Rutland’s Conservative Candidate Accuses Council of Politically Driven Poster Removal

The Conservative candidate for Rutland & Stamford has hit out at the council for removing one of her election posters.


Alicia Kearns the Conservative candiate for Rutland and Stamford has accused Rutland County Council of breaching election law by removing the poster which was displayed on private land on the A606 in Rutland.


A statement from the former Rutland and Melton MP reads: "Conservative candidate Alicia Kearns’ poster was removed from fencing on the A606 on Monday, with the Council first incorrectly asserting that it was infringing on public land, then following a u-turn, claiming it was ‘distracting’ and ‘too big’; despite Rutland County Council being unable to provide any evidence of a Council Policy on political and election poster sizes.


Tampering with posters is a breach election law, and Local Councils do not typically remove posters from private land.


Questions have been raised why the Council acted so swiftly to use Council Tax-funded members of Highway’s staff to rip down a political opponent’s poster, whilst claiming to have insufficient resource to deliver on the concerns of Parish Councils and Rutland’s communities."



Conservative Candidate Alicia Kearns said: “It is difficult to see how this is not politically motivated, it’s clear the Liberal-run Council does not want my message to be conveyed to our communities. Several times I have requested reasoning for its removal and each time I received conflicting and contradictory answers.


“The Liberal Democrat leader has questions to answer, it is an appalling misjudgement to use Rutland resident-funded Council staff to take down a sign when the requests of Parish Councils go unanswered and ignored for weeks and months.


“As someone who has always run a positive campaign, focused on what I can offer to Rutlanders, and my determination to serve our communities; this is a worrying attack on democracy from a party with form for disregarding the will of the people.


“Sadly it’s no surprise they have resorted to such tactics when they have gone back on their local election promises, and issued fake newspapers to residents over the last few weeks claiming their candidate (who in 2015 stood to be a Labour MP) – who is a Local Councillor in Hinkley and Bosworth – is a local man. How can he be a Local Councillor in a distant corner of Leicestershire yet also be a local man?”


Ms Kearns has also hit out at the public in a social media post after a poster was damaged in Rutland.


She said: "I have always run positive campaigns, focused on what I can deliver for our communities. We need dialogue not division, but this is just pure hatred.


Equally, I remember the 2019 election when someone thought it funny to steal my coat and phone and dump them in a lay-by bin while I was with my baby in a pub meeting and speaking to residents."


A spokesperson for Rutland Council Council said: "Candidates and agents were made aware of Rutland County Council’s signage policy with respect to large campaign banners at a face-to-face briefing on Thursday 30th May.

 

The office of Conservative candidate Alicia Kearns was contacted by the Council’s Highways Service on Friday 14th June to advise that a banner being displayed along the A606, Burley Park Way did not comply with this policy, due to its size and location.

 

As part of our approach to managing signage along the highways, we take steps to remove and safely store banners and posters that are not policy compliant. All other banners and posters that meet the conditions of the signage policy are left in place."


The candidates running for the Rutland and Stamford seat are:


Emma Louise Baker - Green Party

Joanna Burrows - Rejoin EU

Chris Clowes - Reform UK

Alicia Kearns - Conservative

James Moore - Liberal Democrats

Joe Wood - Labour Party

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