The electoral law was seriously violated throughout the last week of the local election campaign in Norwich in May, with a Green Party member impersonated and Labour Party posters vandalised and defaced.
Members of the Norwich Greens suspect members of rival parties to be behind various events in the run up to polling day. Conjecture has also arisen that Green supporters may have carried out these acts as an attempt to discredit their opposition.
Green Party Co-ordinator James Davis believes that “it is unlikely to be anyone in our party” but he mentions all precautions must be covered so that “appropriate [actions] can be taken” against the crimes. Incidents include the defacing of several Labour Party poster-boards by stapling A4 sheets of paper quoting “Vote Green”, which were seen throughout Norwich.
The face of Councillor Benjamin Price, who secured a Green hold for the Thorpe Hamlet constituency with 1123 votes, was included in many unofficial Green Party posters throughout the city.
In an interview with Price, he summed up the events in confidence and stated that although the vandalism “appeared to be from the Green Party, it was not”. He said he was certain that the local party “did not produce, or was not involved in any distribution of such material”.
There were also reports of a leaflet distributed purporting to be from the Green Party candidate for the Nelson borough which contained his photo but not the official party imprint.
The leaflet also contained libelous remarks about Norwich South’s Labour MP Clive Lewis, regarding a vote in the House of Commons. There have also been claims that a man had been door-knocking in Winchester Tower and Vauxhall Street, in the Town Close ward, claiming that Green Party policies included evicting residents from their homes to give them to immigrants entering the United Kingdom.
Clive Lewis, Labour MP for Norwich South, commenting on the incidents, stated that “these mindless people would rather vandalise election posters than engage in political discussions”.
Similarly, Great Yarmouth saw 50 Conservative election posters vandalised prior to last year’s General Election. Brandon Lewis MP told the BBC that “the worst incident was outside Scratby where a poster had been cut to look like a swastika”. UKIP election posters in Norwich last year were also violated, with the party looking into financing cameras to guard their electoral materials.
The police and Electoral Commission have been notified of the events, and so the Green Party now awaits judgement.