Former Tory MP ‘sorry’ over election leaflet lie

Former Tory MP David Burrowes, left, admitted printing a false claim about Labour councillor Claire Stewart, right
Former Tory MP David Burrowes, left, admitted printing a false claim about Labour councillor Claire Stewart, right

David Burrowes apology comes after councillor launched defamation case, reports James Cracknell

Former Enfield Southgate MP David Burrowes has been forced to apologise to a local councillor for printing a lie about her on his election leaflets.

The defeated Conservative, who lost to current Labour MP Bambos Charalambous in both 2017 and 2019, admitted falsely claiming Southgate Green councillor Claire Stewart had supported a controversial high-rise development in Southgate town centre.

The election literature carrying the fabrication was distributed widely during the 2019 General Election campaign in a ward that Cllr Stewart does not represent. Cllr Stewart was not herself a candidate in the general election, but is employed by Bambos as his chief of staff and campaigned for his re-election.

Cllr Stewart said: “It is absolutely right that David Burrowes retract his statement and apologise. His actions contributed towards the toxic political atmosphere that sees women targeted with smear campaigns.

“Clearly David Burrowes’ actions were only meant to damage my reputation – they were nothing to do with the general election.”

In an apology posted on the Southgate Conservatives website, David said: “I am very sorry to have stated in a leaflet in November 2019 that Cllr Stewart supported the planned Southgate Office Village development. I now realise that this was not the case and Cllr Stewart has not supported the development, and I am happy to make this clear.”

David Burrowes was Conservative MP for Enfield Southgate between 2005 and 2017. His formal apology came as part of a legal settlement between the pair after Cllr Stewart instructed her solicitors to pursue a case of defamation.

The 17-storey plans for Southgate Office Village were rejected by Enfield Council in June this year.