Labour sends ‘vote for us’ plea to dead Tory MP’s family – in poll sparked by his death

James Brokenshire: Arlene Foster pays tribute to MP

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The party sent a “Vote Labour” letter to the household of former Tory MP James Brokenshire, who died last month after a battle with lung cancer. The heavily Labour-branded letter, which included a large photograph of Labour candidate Daniel Francis, was deeply upsetting to Mr Brokenshire’s widow Cathy. The party issued an apology last night for the “distress” caused by the election communication.

In a statement, it said: “This was the standard freepost mailing that parties get at election time which is sent to all registered electors in the local area.

“We sincerely apologise for any distress caused to the Brokenshire family.”

However, other MPs – from both sides of the bench – have hit out the error.

Sir David Evennett, Tory MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, branded the blunder “so insensitive”.

Meanwhile, one Labour MP called it a “dreadful” error, adding that there was “no way” it should have happened.

Just law month, following the passing of Mr Brokenshire, Sir Keir paid tribute to the former Communities Secretary.

The Labour leader described him as a “friend to many of us”, adding that he “commanded enormous respect.”

The by-election, scheduled for December 2, was triggered in Old Bexley and Sidcup after the MPs death.

While Labour is seen as the main challenger in the seat, the Tories currently hold a majority of nearly 19,000 votes.

However, residents of the Tory stronghold are hesitant about voting for the Conservatives in the upcoming polls.

The Guardian spoke to residents of the middle-class commuter constituency, many of whom said they were disappointed in the Tories’ record in government.

Guy Plunkett, 86, a retired marine insurance broker, said that he had voted Conservative his whole life but was considering voting Labour because he felt the Tories “seem to fall down on promises”, especially about protecting the population from Covid, adding: “the sleaze hasn’t helped”.

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Meanwhile, two other anonymous residents have become so disillusioned they have decided against voting at all.

One said: “The sleaze factor is frightening. I want to know more about it. UK politics has never been like that”, while the other added: “I think Boris Johnson is the worst prime minister we’ve ever had.”

The Conservative party has faced mounting criticism and allegations of “sleaze” over their handling of the Owen Paterson case after Tory MPs voted against a 30-day suspension for the MP despite it being recommended by the MPs’ watchdog.

However, many residents have said they will stick with the Tories despite not being “impressed” with their record.

Gillian Moore said: “I’ll probably vote Conservative because I don’t agree with a lot of the Labour manifesto. But I’m not impressed with the Conservatives at all.

“I really fancied Boris Johnson as prime minister but I think he’s a waste of space and I’m quite disappointed in him.

“I don’t think he inspires confidence. He makes promises he doesn’t keep.”

The Labour party have had a boost in the polls recently, with the party recording their first poll lead over the Tories since January.

In a recent Opinium poll, the Labour party recorded 37 percent support – putting them one point ahead of the Tories.

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