Eastwood Lib Dem hopeful Jason Zadrozny has responded to accusations of “attempting to mislead” residents with campaign publications that uses an NHS logo.
The leaflets, which were brought to the attention of NHS bosses at King’s Mill Hospital have been described as suggesting endorsement from the NHS.
The Advertiser received reports on Friday, February 27 that residents had been complaining to Labour MP Gloria De Piero about the publications, which claims to have “Important NHS information inside” and calls Mr Zadrozny “Our NHS Champion”.
The reports come only two weeks after the county councilor for Sutton-in-Ashfield and prospective parliamentary candidate for Ashfield constituency, covering Kirkby, Hucknall and Eastwood was warned by NHS England not to use the health service’s logo after a previous debacle over a party leaflet asking voters to answer survey questions.
A Lib Dem Spokesperson for Jason Zadrozny said: “This magazine was clearly imprinted and carried the contact details of Councillor Zadrozny. Again, we will not apologise for talking about the issues that matter to local people. It is utterly ludicrous to again suggest that people were hoodwinked into thinking that a public body like the NHS would endorse a political candidate or party
“It is important that any issues we are discussing are clearly identifiable - hence that it was obvious that our magazine was discussing health.
“At no time, have we tried to mislead people. The magazine does not carry any endorsement from the NHS, King’s Mill Hospital nor Nottingham City Hospital. It also carried specific stories about what Jason Zadrozny and the Liberal Democrats have done including delivering in Government more doctors, more nurses and huge investment in mental health.
The party has also received complaints, added the spokesperason, but these do not compare to the number of similar similar complaints made about a Labour leaflet.
The spokesperson added: “It is true that we have three complaints from Labour members. The magazine was delivered to nearly 46,000 homes so I wouldn’t say residents are angry about our magazine. In fact, the opposite is true - people love the fact we have prioritised health as an issue.
“We have in fact received more complaints about a letter that Labour sent from Ed Miliband to constituents that looked like test results.
“This has been hugely criticised in the national press. They were delivered across the constituency three weeks ago by Labour centrally. The fact that Labour activists are now complaining about this is typical Labour hypocrisy!”
Norman Ramsden, 69, a retired surveryor for Amber Valley Borough Council, complained when he received a leaflet at his home on Regent Street, Kirkby-in-Ashfield.
He said the leaflet “gave the outward impression of being from the NHS.”
He added: “It is not until you get well inside the leaflets that it becomes clear that it is a Lib Dem leaflet.
“These leaflets are an attempt to deceive.”
It was pertaining to be a document from the NHS. It’s got the logo right across the top, and it wasn’t until a few pages in that you find out it’s from the Liberal Democrats - nut they weren’t upfront about that, it was abscured.
My Ramsden added that the contact details on the back were “trying to make it look more like an offical document”.
He said: “I don’t mind them debating the health service but if they do so they shouldnt use a deceptiive method of publicity. I expect it’s because they bombard us with letters most weeks. They’re depserate to get into Ashfield.
Another anonymous resident who wrote to Labour MP Gloria De Piero said she had received a leaflet, “which, to all intent and purpose, was from the National Health Service”.
She added: “On further reading I see it is a big promotion from Jason Zadrozny Liberal Democrat Party promoting himself.”
Mary Herne-Smith said: “It gives the impression that he is being backed in his campaign by the medical staff at King’s Mill.
“I feel that this is an unscrupulous way of campaigning and would like to know to whom I can make a formal complaint.”
Ms De Piero said: “I have been inundated with complaints - as has King’s Mill Hospital - about leaflets and surveys sent by the Liberal Democrats which have been designed to look like they have come from the NHS. People feel deceived.”
A war over party leafleting has been raging for years in the constituency.
Mr Zadrozny attacked Labour in 2011 for making “false allegations” of failure to keep campaign promises in a leaflet the party was circulating.