Leeds North West Labour candidate Alex Sobel has to make second apology for untrue campaign statements

We all make mistakes. It’s part of being human. What’s important is that you learn from them. And when political opponents make mistakes, there are times when you need to show a bit of understanding and “there but for the grace of God go I” attitude. Election campaigns are fraught and exhausting and those working on them make massive sacrifices. The chances of mistakes being made through sheer fatigue are quite high.

There are times, though, when a campaign doesn’t learn from its mistakes and it’s legitimate to point that out.

Alex Sobel, the Labour candidate in Leeds North West, has had to make two apologies in the last 10 days for putting out leaflets with two separate untrue statements on it.

The first time, Labour had to distribute 15000 copies of an apology to Liberal Democrat candidate and sitting MP Greg Mulholland for saying that he’d voted for a piece of legislation when he’d been on paternity leave. Greg Mulholland’s website has the details:

The leaflet distributed made a number of misleading claims about Greg’s voting record, but including one wholly untrue statement saying “in 2010 our Lib Dem MP voted in favour of the 2010 Academy Act”. Having received a solicitor’s letter, Alex Sobel and his agent have had to apologise and retract the claim.

Alex Sobel, who was the Yorkshire organiser for Ed Miliband’s leadership campaign, has been criticised for his election campaign and for misleading people about a number of votes, including on the ‘bedroom tax’ which Greg Mulholland clearly voted against, voting for it to be taken out of the Welfare Reform Bill on 1st February and on 21st February 2012 and then again voting for it to be changed in the Affordable Homes Bill on 5th September 2014. Mulholland also tabled a motion in Parliament, in November 2013, calling the bedroom tax “a mistake” which “should not have been introduced in the Welfare Reform Act 2012”.

Instead Alex Sobel and the Leeds North West Labour Party keep presenting meaningless Opposition Day motions, which have no bearing on the law and cannot change legislation, as if they are votes on legislation. This is misleading voters.

After all that, you would think that Sobel’s campaign would have been more careful to verify its claims. Apparently not. From his own website.

In a recent Labour Party election communication, under the heading “Why we are backing Alex Sobel,” we included a statement purporting to come from Madge Davey of Kidz in Kampz. Madge did not say this. We wish to make clear that the statement was in error and that Madge Davey had nothing to do with either the wording or the inclusion of the paragraph. Kidz in Kampz is a charity and does not support any political party. We apologise for the confusion caused, which is entirely our fault.

If you have read this and feel motivated to help Greg’s re-election campaign, you can donate here or volunteer here.


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  • Ah yes. Labour. Our natural friends and coalition partners. Most definitely not the party that’s vowed to destroy us since the 1920s.

  • Tabman @

    The party has done a good job in destroying itself in the last five years, no help from Labour needed was there ?

  • PB Brown. You mean apart from the constant screams of betrayal from the left because we had the temerity to choose a coalition partner that wasn’t them?

  • Philip Thomas 18th Apr '15 - 5:49pm

    There are no true friends among the other political parties, only allies of convenience.

  • Philip Thomas 18th Apr '15 - 6:15pm

    Thanks Eddie. I agree that dv victims are not political footballs.

  • Peter Andrews 18th Apr '15 - 6:29pm

    Greg’s fighting fund website can be found at https://ldleeds.nationbuilder.com/.
    Please donate to help us keep and honest hard working Lib Dem MP.

  • Tabman
    “You mean apart from the constant screams of betrayal from the left because we had the temerity to choose a coalition partner that wasn’t them?”

    Can you quote one of these “constant” complaints?

  • oh leave him alone will you we all make mistakes but why do you guys just go to town about it to try to destroy Alex it just shows how petty you are and because you know he is a real threat so you are resorting to low down tricks to get ahead shame on you

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 18th Apr '15 - 9:35pm

    Incredible, Katie. I am sure Labour would have been a lot less understanding than this post has been if it had been a Lib Dem who had made such a mistake. Oh, sorry, two mistakes.

  • Peter Andrews 18th Apr '15 - 9:54pm

    @Katie how are pointing out lies and unauthorised ‘quotes’ from someone running a charity in Labour leaflets low down dirty tricks?

  • Caron Lindsay 18th Apr ’15 – 9:35pm ….

    Caron, did you apologise for wrongly claiming that the NUS were not endorsing LibDem MPs who, “kept the pledge”?

  • David Allen 19th Apr '15 - 1:12pm

    Yes, the Labour Party contains a fraction of nasty dishonest people who are economical with the truth. So does the Lib Dems, so do the Tories. I’ll be charitable, it is not the place of LDV to advertise the errors made by Lib Dems, so it is not a surprise that it does not do so. But – when did you last see LDV attack the Tories? Isn’t there a bit of a clue, there, as to whose pocket the Lib Dems are in?

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 19th Apr '15 - 2:17pm

    Oh for heaven’s sake, David Allen, this is getting tiresome. I write all the time about how hideous a Tory majority government would be, in fact the most hideous outcome of the election.

    But that wouldn’t fit with the narrative you have decided upon, would it, so perhaps you ignore it.

  • Eddie Sammon 19th Apr '15 - 2:51pm

    I was going to say David, Caron Lindsay is probably the most prominent editor of the site and she definitely doesn’t have any tory bias. 😀

  • Sorry, Caron but that is not my impression….even on your thread about the recent debate you barely comment criticise Cameron’s ‘no-show’ and only refer to the post debate Tory spin as ‘silly’…However, you go into a very detailed attack on Milliband regarding his promise to young people…

  • SIMON BANKS 20th Apr '15 - 9:27am

    In Anatole France’s satirical history of France, “L’Ile des Pingouins” (mistranslated into English as “Penguin Island” – it should be “Puffin Island”) he has an old man explain hostility between neighbouring countries as part of a rule of human nature – we hate those closest to us. When radical Liberals like Caron attack Labour there is often a subtext about betrayal and Labour activists hated us most when we appeared to be rivals on the left, not when we confirmed their comforting certainties by doing a deal with the Tories.

  • Caron a pro Tory? LOL. that really is silly. Looks like Labour supporters are just rattled because their party isnt romping home to an easy victory against the “evil” coalition parties, which they have assumed would be the case since 2012.

  • @Simon Banks there’s a rule that says “first eliminate the competition, then the opposition.”

  • MBoy 20th Apr ’15 – 10:14am ……Caron a pro Tory? LOL. that really is silly. Looks like Labour supporters are just rattled because their party isnt romping home to an easy victory against the “evil” coalition parties, which they have assumed would be the case since 2012…..

    All facts wrong…

    No one has accused Caron of being ‘pro-Tory’; just a lot more ‘anti-Labour’ than ‘anti-Tory’ just read her LDV comments…
    You appear to be yet another ‘LibDem’ who believes that those who criticise the current LibDem political bent must be Labour supporters….

  • @expats
    “Caron, did you apologise for wrongly claiming that the NUS were not endorsing LibDem MPs who, ‘kept the pledge’?”

    I’ve given Caron a few days but I see that error is still in the NUS article. Apparently it’s essential for other parties to get 100% of their facts right but Lib Dems are allowed a little more leeway.

    There’s an even worse example, in the article about student voters yesterday in which the author claims that the Lib Dems were “unable to block” the Tories’ plans to raise tuition fees. Lib Dems repeat this claim endlessly even though – despite me asking many, many times – nobody has ever offered any evidence for it whatsoever. This is much worse than the untruths in the Labour leaflets under discussion here, because it’s a systematic attempt by large numbers of a party on a national scale to spread information that (to be subtle) nobody has demonstrated is true.

  • It is low down dirty tricks to make such a huge fuss about a couple of honest mistakes. Because you know you can never beat him on policy, so you are trying to destroy him by other means. It stinks, and by the way, so do you guys!

  • Hi Katie, I hope you’re well. Is your surname Hopkins by any chance?

  • TCO 23rd Apr ’15 – 9:01am ……Hi Katie, I hope you’re well. Is your surname Hopkins by any chance?…

    I note the personal abuse is still going strong…

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