Lewis Iwu penalised for dirty campaign tactics in OUSU race

first_imgOUSU Presidential front-runner Lewis Iwu’s campaign actively attempted to seek out information in order to defame another candidate, the Returning Officer ruled on Wednesday.Iwu’s campaign agent, Jason Sarfo-Annin, sent emails to former Oxford students who have since left the University, trying to find details that would enable him to maliciously discredit Labour Club candidate Olivia Bailey, who is also running for President.OUSU Returning Officer James Dray ruled that Iwu’s campaign was in breach of rules relating to mailings and use of the Internet to distribute electoral material. He reduced Iwu’s publicity limit by a fifth, cutting 100 posters from his campaign, and fining him £10 from his £50 deposit.Dray added to his ruling, “It may not sound like a lot but it’s about as strict a fine as I can give, it would normally be 30 or 40 stamps. Lewis didn’t do it himself and may not have known that his agent did it. But his agent was asking for information which was clearly going to be used in a malicious manner, which is a serious offence.”In an email to Steve Longden, last year’s Campaigns & Membership Officer for the Oxford University Labour Club, Sarfo-Annin said, “We’re enjoying great support from students at the moment, even from a lot of members of the Oxford University Labour Club. However, due to political reasons most of them are sitting on their hands and don’t want to be seen helping us, which is fair enough.“However, a few have mentioned the fact that Olivia worked for Labour Students, and was forced to resign her position. I know that you know the story. I wanted to get the exact details first hand, I was hoping that you’d be able to give me the details.”He added, “Naturally, this is all off the record and if we do decide to use this info it will never be traced back to you.”Longden promptly forwarded the email to members of Olivia Bailey’s campaign, who issued a formal complaint to the Returning Officer.Included in the complaint was a copy of a similar message sent on Facebook to London Young Labour Campaigns Officer Lynne Wells, and an admission by Iwu’s agent Sarfo-Annin that a similar message was sent to Kenny Young, Chair of Labour Students.In the message to Lynne Wells, Sarfo-Annin asked for “exact detail and circumstances” of Bailey’s resignation from Labour Students. He added, “I’d like to ask you if you could put some pressure on Stephen Longden or even Kenny Young if you know him. Because of the nature of these elections, it’s very easy to leak stuff without people knowing the source. So anonymity is guaranteed if that’s an issue.”Figures close to Lewis Iwu’s campaign team have suggested that they will not be appealing against the decision. Sarfo-Annin was unable to comment due to election regulations preventing candidates or their agents speaking to the press. Labour Club sources suggested off the record that Bailey resigned as National Treasurer for Labour Students to concentrate on her work as new JCR President for St Hilda’s, not having the time to maintain both positions of responsibility.by Staff Reporterslast_img

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