EXCLUSIVE: Labour’s dirty tricks locked up Thurlow Park ward, claims former Conservative councillor


Graham Pycock said thousands of letters attacking the Conservatives were delivered on the eve of the poll.


By Jack Miller

Underhand tactics and dirty tricks helped Labour secure their resounding victory across Lambeth last week, according to one of the Conservative candidates for Thurlow Park Ward, Graham Pycock.

Labour kept hold of Lambeth Council, and replicated the party’s dominance across the capital, taking a commanding 59 out of 63 seats in the borough.

But Mr Pycock, a Lambeth councillor on three previous occasions, has exclusively revealed to SWLondoner that Labour resorted to a dishonourable ploy on the eve of the poll.

Thousands of letters were delivered all over Thurlow Park, alleging to be from a former Conservative who lived locally, to tell people just how awful the party were.

“It is regrettable that at the last minute Labour have used dirty tricks, and tried to not give us enough time to reply to it,” Mr Pycock said. “It was all just a pack of lies.

“What they are doing is unthinkable – it is not what we should be doing in democracy. No wonder people are so disillusioned when something like that happens.”

Mr Pycock claims that the letter (see above) had the Labour imprint on it in tiny font to protect them legally, and was delivered by Labour workers.

The author, Chris Finch, does not even live in the Thurlow Park area (and so would not be eligible to vote there) and in fact nominated the three Labour Candidates in Clapham Town – all of whom won seats.

Thurlow Park Conservatives responded on the same evening, before the poll, by issuing a rejoinder warning people of the hoax and saying they would not be drawn into negative campaigning.


This is not the first time Lambeth Labour have been accused of dodgy behaviour during this year’s vote.

Veteran Labour MP for Vauxhall, Kate Hoey, demanded before the election that the campaign leaflet produced by the Clapham Town candidate from her own party be withdrawn. 

This was because the glowing endorsement of the Nigel Haselden under her name was a complete fabrication.

While Mr Pycock conceded Labour probably would have won the election in Thurlow Park anyway, he believes the tactics cost the Conservatives a lot of votes.

He said: “Dirty tricks work because they scare people. A lot of people believed it and we are dealing with people who have a lack of scruples.

“It may be because they think they are morally superior. As a Conservative, when you are with them, you treated as if you are less than human.”

Labour councillors Anna Birley, Fred Cowell, and Max Deckers-Dowber were announced as the winners of the Thurlow Park seats last Friday at the count at Brixton Recreational Centre, with a cumulative total of 6,365 votes.

The Conservatives themselves only managed just over half that amount with 3,304, showing their campaign highlighting Labour’s poor decision making, £460m of council debt and pledging to remove the one-party cabinet failed to make an impact.

Mr Pycock is now appealing for Lambeth Labour to be honest with the voters who have elected them for another term.

He claims his Freedom of Information requests are consistently ignored by the council, and half of the total requests in the last twelve months were classed as ‘unresolved’.

He added: “Dirty tricks campaigning, a massive public relations and propaganda output, and a winner-take-all political control are the authentic hallmarks of a one-party state.”

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