Bexhill Remain campaigners blasted for leafletting during Jo Cox suspension

Two women were seen handing out Stronger In leaflets outside St John's Church. Photo by Nicola Burton
Two women were seen handing out Stronger In leaflets outside St John's Church. Photo by Nicola Burton

Remain campaigners have been criticised for leafletting in Bexhill while EU referendum campaigning was suspended out of respect for MP Jo Cox.

A Leave supporter said she saw two women handing out Remain flyers outside St John’s Church, London Road, before MP Huw Merriman’s debate on the EU on Saturday (June 18).

One of the women seen canvassing during the suspension for Jo Cox's death. Photo by  Nicola Burton

One of the women seen canvassing during the suspension for Jo Cox's death. Photo by Nicola Burton

The Bexhill and Battle Stronger In group defended the decision as it was told it could choose whether to continue leafletting or not and the national suspension did not apply to local-level leafletting.

Stronger In also claimed it saw a Vote Leave campaigner outside the church but Vote Leave said it was unaware of any of its supporters doing so.

Nicola Burton spotted the campaigners and was ‘horrified’ to see them handing out flyers during the suspension for which there is ‘no excuse’.

“We had planned to canvass but it was a national agreement not to campaign over the weekend changed on Saturday evening to allow it again on Sunday,” she said.

“We stood by the agreement in Bexhill, and everywhere, there may have been some chance leafletting but no concerted effort by Leave.

“But this was a concerted effort by Remain and I was quite horrified actually sa it was very unfair.”

Both sides agreed to pause campaigning over the EU referendum on Thursday (June 23) for two days after the West Yorkshire MP was killed last week.

Ms Burton said she saw two women leafletting for Stronger In but the Remain camp claim it was a man and a woman, as well as one woman giving people Vote Leave flyers.

Bexhill and Battle’s Stronger In agent Stephen Hardy said his superiors told him ‘door-to-door leafleting’ was allowed and it was up to him whether to do so outside public events during the suspension.

“I do not see that the leafleting by Stronger In supporters outside the venue, which constituted of asking people if they wanted a leaflet, and not in any way imposing a leaflet on them constituted a breach of the instructions we had been given and I had passed on,” he said.

He added: “If our actions caused offence to anyone then I take responsibility on behalf of Stronger In supporters and apologise but I would assume that in the light of the facts as I understand them to be, the Leave campaign will do the same.”

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