Candidate is 'local' - to both Northumberland and London

Berwick parliamentary candidate Julie Pörksen has been accused of hypocrisy by political rivals over her claims to be 'local'

Richard Wearmouth, Chairman of Morpeth and Wansbeck Conservative Association outside Netherton Workmans Social Club in Bedlington, Northumberland.
Richard Wearmouth, Chairman of Morpeth and Wansbeck Conservative Association outside Netherton Workmans Social Club in Bedlington, Northumberland.

A parliamentary candidate in Northumberland has been accused of hypocrisy after claiming to be local to the county - but also to London.

Julie Pörksen, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Berwick, has been criticised by Conservative opponents after they discovered literature from when she ran for council in London describing her as ‘local’.

They say the claim is at odds with Mrs Pörksen’s assertions to be ‘local’ in the Berwick seat.

The candidate has defended her local credentials in the county, while her party has laid into the Tories accusing them of “silly attacks.”

Mrs Pörksen’s rivals took to social media to post a leaflet from 2010 when she stood for election for the Lib Dems at Pimlico in the city of Westminster.

The leaflet describes her as a “local mum” and “local resident.”

The Tories say the leaflet is at odds with Mrs Pörksen’s claims in the Berwick constituency, with her website describing her as “a key local campaigner” and press releases referring to her as “local” and “Northumbrian.”

They have also highlighted the fact she lives in the Wansbeck constituency, at Hepscott.

Richard Wearmouth, Conservative chairman for Wansbeck, said: “I am shocked by these revelations, Julie Pörksen has gone out of her way to portray herself as the “local” candidate for Berwick.

“Indeed, she and her colleagues based their campaign in the recent Longhoughton by-election on the fact that they were local campaigners and criticised the Conservative candidate for living just outside the ward even though he had previously lived in the ward for many years.

“The fact that it now emerges that Mrs Pörksen not only does not live in the Berwick constituency, but has recently campaigned for a London council seat describing herself as the ‘local’ candidate in Pimlico, leaves her open to the accusation of hypocrisy.”

Mrs Pörksen responded: “I grew up here in the Berwick constituency – many farming people know my father as a leading light in the local NFU.

“However, like many Northumbrians, the lack of local jobs forced me to look to move away.

“Moving back to Northumberland was the best thing I could ever do for my children and my family is in the process of moving to Rothbury where my children start school in September.

“I want to represent the area where I grew up and which I love in parliament to make sure that future generations aren’t forced to make the same decisions I had to, that there are well paid jobs and decent opportunities here for our young people.”

A local Lib Dem spokesperson added: “When people vote next May, they aren’t going to be swayed by silly attacks.

“They will ask themselves who will fight for us – a former city corporate financier whose local party receives funding from a Russian businessman, and whose party wants local workers to get paid less than those down south; or Julie who was brought up here and will fight for local people to get the A1 dualled, health services in Berwick improved and make sure our new school gets built in Alnwick.”

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