Published: March 25, 2010
Burnham-On-Sea MP attacked in election leaflet campaign

Thousands of controversial leaflets accusing Burnham-On-Sea's MP, David Heathcoat-Amory, of "failing our democracy" are being posted through letterboxes across the area.

The leaflets are being distributed by Power 2010, a group funded by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust which has given more than £4m to the Liberal Democrats during the past nine years.

Mr Heathcoat-Amory has hit back this week, saying the criticism on the leaflet is "negative, inaccurate and partisan".

Power 2010 says Mr Heathcoat-Amory is among six MPs nominated by its supporters who appeared to be most at odds with the group's key policies. It wants a system of proportional representation for electing MPs, the scrapping of ID cards and the House of Lords replaced with an elected chamber.

The group also used the MP's photo on a full page advertisement in a national broadsheet newspaper earlier this week.

Mr Heathcoat-Amory said: "Power 2010 alleges that I block democratic reform and attack civil liberties. This is untrue. I have constantly stood for personal freedom, limited government and parliamentary rights against rule from Brussels."

"The Power 2010 campaign is exclusively funded by the Joseph Rowntree Trust, which has given nearly £5m to the Liberal Democrats and whose director is contributing to a book called 'Why Vote Liberal Democrat?'."

"This campaign is therefore a front for the Liberal Democrats. If the campaign was really about democracy, it would ask why some MPs and parties broke their clear election promise to support a referendum on the EU Treaty. But of course that would embarrass the Liberal Democrats, so it is not included."

"If Power 2010 really wants to reform politics, they could start with themselves and end these negative, inaccurate and partisan attacks funded by a rich foundation."

Pam Giddy, director of Power 2010, told the BBC that she rejects suggestions that the campaign is partisan. "Is this a front for the Liberal Democrats? We're not. We're involved with parties across the board, with people from all sorts of parties, but crucially people who don't align themselves with any party," she said.


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