IN the week when the national Lib Dem leader visits Dorset his party has been accused of being less than straightforward in its local election leafleting.

Sir Ed Davey is planning to be in the Bridport area on Thursday to support local candidates and parliamentary candidate for the West Dorset Edward Morello.

As news of the visit was released Green Party Bridport councillor Dr Kelvin Clayton accused the Lib Dems of pushing out a “grossly misleading” leaflet through letterboxes in the town.

Said Cllr Clayton: “A Lib Dem election leaflet coming through Bridport letterboxes is grossly misleading. The leaflet, which is being delivered prior to local elections on May 2, and which focuses on their Bridport ‘local team’ uses data from the last general election, for the whole of West Dorset to imply that only they can win in Bridport. This is not true. At the last local elections, in May 2019, Green Party candidates came first and second in both (of the then) two wards on Bridport Town Council, and their candidate for Dorset Council (me) came second out of the three elected. Green Party candidates can, and do win in Bridport,” he said.

The party has also achieved another win locally with Belinda Bawden taking the previous Conservative seat in Lyme Regis.

In response a Lib Dem spokesperson from the party's national office said: “At the next General Election Edward Morello and the Lib Dems are the clear choice to beat the Conservatives. The Lib Dems came second at the last election while Labour have never won and the Green’s got a woeful 4%.

“Ahead of the local elections this May, many Labour and Green Party voters are already saying they’ll support us this time in order to beat the Conservatives - momentum is clearly with the Lib Dem team here.”

Meanwhile another claim about Lib Dem leafleting had been raised in Weymouth.

Littlemoor and Preston Conservative councillor Louie 0’Leary says a Lib Dem leaflet being delivered in the area has a picture which suggests it was taken in Littlemoor.

Cllr O’Leary says it was actually taken at a meeting at the Redlands Sports Centre.

Local Lib Dem agent Cllr Ryan Hope says the Littlemoor Focus leaflet never made any claims about where the photo was taken and has questioned Cllr O'Leary about why the Conservative have imposed council tax increases of 24per cent since 2019; why they did not agree an immediate review on local car parking charges and why support for cost of living payments was stopped after a year and is not included in the 24/25 council budget.

Said Cllr O'Leary: '"The photo is clearly in an article about the Top Club building; Cost of living support money continues and council tax increases have been supported by most Lib Dem councillors."

The Bridport and Weymouth criticisms follow from former Dorchester Conservative councillor Gerald Duke insisting that he was featured, without his permission, in another Lib Dem leaflet in a photograph with Mr Davey alongside Dorchester North development protestors. He also said that an image, used in the photograph, belonging to him had been published without his permission.

The local Lib Dems were asked about the claims at the time but decided not to respond.