sue wixley

Nobel Prize campaign claim was typo says Putney Lib Dem

By Matt Banks
December 9 2019, 13.25

A Lib Dem candidate blamed campaign literature which incorrectly calls her a ‘Nobel Prize winner’ on a clerical error.

Sue Wixley was forced to defend a campaign leaflet with statistics from trusted polling organisation YouGov – which they never supplied.

Only 14% of the British public trust politicians in the UK according to a recent Ipsos Mori poll.

For Ms Wixley, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Putney, being truthful is paramount – despite some highprofile campaign gaffes.

“It’s really important for me to be accurate,” she insisted.

But this message didn’t come across when she handed out campaign leaflets that suggested she had won the Nobel Peace Prize.

The leaflets read: “She led the campaign to ban landmines in South Africa, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.”

Ms Wixley did indeed cofound and lead the campaign in South Africa, and the International campaign to ban landmines was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997.

However, she did not personally win the award.

She said: “It was a mistake, a clerical error. It was a proofreading problem.

“I’ve been very explicit about never saying that I personally won the award or that I was a Nobel laureate because that’s not true.

“It would be really foolish for me to say that because you can’t just make stuff up. “It was a typo and it was really unfortunate.”

She explained that she was proud of the work she had done for the campaign.

She persuaded the South African government to ban anti-personnel landmines and was part of a successful international campaign.

She said: “I have the certificate on my mantelpiece, it was given to the whole campaign.

“It wasn’t an individual award, but I have won and I’m not sure there is anybody else standing for parliament who had that.

“No other candidate is explaining a typo about winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

“Do I wish it hadn’t happened? Absolutely, because accuracy matters.”

However, this wasn’t the only accuracy issue from Ms Wixley’s campaign.

Another campaign leaflet of hers contained a bar chart from a ‘YouGov poll’ which wasn’t conducted by YouGov.

It read: “Look at the most recent YouGov poll, which puts the Liberal Democrats at 31%, tied with the Conservatives, while Labour are at just 18%.

“Whatever the Labour Party are saying, all the recent polling shows that Labour can’t win in Putney.”

The poll was actually from projection company Flavible that had not conducted any polling in Putney and nothing to do with YouGov.

Ms Wixley said: “Our president apologised for it and said it was a clerical error, Flavible is a projection and it was incorrectly labelled, and we haven’t used it again.

“If you had looked at Flavible, you would have seen their projection for us in Putney was very positive and had us doing very well.

“We didn’t make up the bar chart and we didn’t make up the data, but we did incorrectly label it and we apologise for that and we didn’t use it again. I care about accuracy.”

Ms Wixley said: “We are making sure we proofread things now. It was about how we referenced it, it wasn’t that we made up anything. What we did do is we mislabelled it and we have apologised.”

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