A PARTY political spat has broken out in Otley - just days after the December 12 General Election was called.

The row centres around Councillor Ray Georgeson (Lib Dem, Danefield) being quoted on the front of a recently published local Labour Party leaflet.

The article was about Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Leeds North West, Alex Sobel’s, transport strategy. That document had been broadly welcomed by Cllr Georgeson and other councillors when it was published by Mr Sobel, as the constituency’s MP, in the summer.

Cllr Georgeson, however is angry that his words - quoted from a Wharfedale & Aireborough Observer article - have been used, without consultation, on a publication for a rival political party.

He said: “I was surprised to see myself featured on the front page of a recent Otley Labour leaflet in a story about Alex Sobel’s transport strategy.

“Mr Sobel has produced a useful, high-level document that I am in broad agreement with but that does not give him license to quote me without permission, or notice of intent to publish, in a style that implies endorsement in Labour Party literature.

“I am all for collaborative cross-party working on issues of common concern as Mr Sobel knows, so it is a shame that he makes it harder for genuine cross-party working to happen if this is the result.

“Using my name in implicit endorsement was wrong and a disappointment. Let people be in no doubt: I will be working hard for our Liberal Democrat candidate for Leeds North West, Kamran Hussain.”

Mr Sobel’s election agent, Nik Rutherford, said: “This was a newsletter written and printed as information for constituents before the election was called.

“On it is information about Alex’s community-led transport strategy that is getting widespread support and has triggered very productive cross-party collaboration.

“Cllr Georgeson’s quote was printed in the Wharfedale Observer and is already in the public domain. We do not feel that this quote is in any way an endorsement of Alex’s re-election but just serves as a piece of recognition for the good work he is doing for our area.

“Like Ray, Alex is also keen to give credit where it is due and publicly praised Ray on his work when he stood down as Leader of Otley Town Council.”

Stewart Harper, meanwhile, has been announced as the Conservative Party’s Parliamentary candidate for Leeds North West.