LABOUR’S Leeds North West branch has had to send out 15,000 leaflets of apology for making a false claim about a rival election candidate.

Parliamentary candidate Alex Sobel and the Leeds North West Labour Party have also been forced to pay costs of £2,000 after Liberal Democrat candidate Greg Mulholland sought legal action.

Otley-based Mr Mulholland asked a solicitor to contact Mr Sobel over a Labour leaflet allegation claiming that the Lib Dem politician, while MP, had “voted in favour of the 2010 Academy Act”.

Mr Sobel and his team have now accepted that the claim was wrong, apologised, and agreed to pay costs.

Mr Mulholland said: “Residents in Leeds North West are telling me they are pretty disgusted at the fact my Labour opponent has been caught out making a false statement on a leaflet.

“Strong debate and criticism are fine, but it is quite another thing to say something that is not true - and I am pleased that he has been forced to print 15,000 apologies to set the record straight and tell people the truth.”

The false claim was included among a list of assertions in the Labour leaflet that attempted to show a contrast between Mr Mulholland’s voting record and public comments.

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The Lib Dem candidate added: “It is disappointing that Mr Sobel and his campaign continue to seek to mislead people about my position on the bedroom tax.
“I have consistently opposed it and clearly voted for it not to be in the Welfare Reform Bill. 
“My Labour opponent is clearly trying to divert attention from his own, shameful, voting record.
“He claims to support the Living Wage, but has twice voted against it for Leeds City Council employees.
“He also claims he is against the NGT Trolleybus scheme, yet voted for it on the council. Local people are telling me they want an MP they can trust.”
Mr Mulholland added that he had rebelled and voted against his party’s whip more times than any previous MP for the constituency, which includes Otley, Yeadon, Pool-in-Wharfedale and Bramhope.
The Leeds North West Labour Party was contacted by the Wharfedale Observer but did not want to comment.