Candidate cleared in poster spat

TORY hopeful Mark Eastwood says he is fighting hard to win in Dewsbury East, despite criticism of his novel election posters.

Father of two Mr Eastwood, of Moor Park Lane in Earlsheaton, has put up Conservative posters branded with the slogans ‘Vote to abolish Kirklees’ and ‘Vote to save Chidswell’, which prompted a complaint to election officials in Huddersfield.

Normally candidates simply produce posters with their name and face, but Mr Eastwood, 41, has chosen a slightly different approach in his battle against incumbent Labour stalwart Paul Kane, Dennis Hullock of the Lib Dems, UKIP’s Greg Burrows and Green challenger Tony Kelsall.

“I got a call from a Kirklees Highways official last week asking if I had got the posters approved by the party, as they had had a complaint,” he said. “But they’ve been sanctioned by (Tory leader) Robert Light and are fully legal and above board.

“Both the fight to save Chidswell from development and the plan to split North Kirklees from South Kirklees have been major campaigning issues for us.

“In terms of the ‘Abolish Kirklees’ poster, the Labour Party and others might not like the message, but the reaction I’ve been getting on the doorstep shows that people in Dewsbury East really do think it’s time for a divorce from Huddersfield.”

Mr Eastwood stood in Dewsbury East for the Conservatives in last year’s local elections, when he was beaten by Labour’s Eric Firth by more than 1,500 votes.

A spokesman for Kirklees said: “The returning officer received a complaint regarding the poster with wording ‘Vote to abolish Kirklees’ and asked for advice from the council's legal team. We have been advised that the text on this poster is allowable.”

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