Aylesbury Vale election candidate apologises for breaching charity's code of conduct amidst calls to step down
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Buckingham Labour Party has called on Mrs Jane Mordue to step down as a trustee of Citizens Advice Bucks after she mentioned the charity in a leaflet and video, while campaigning for the Buckingham East Unitary Ward by-election on 2 November.
In the campaign literature, Mrs Mordue told voters that the charity had given her experience in “listening to local residents’ concerns”.
But Buckingham Labour Party said her reference to the charity while campaigning was a “flagrant breach of the charity’s code of conduct” and claimed she had “repeatedly misused and misrepresented her role” as a trustee.
The Citizens Advice Trustee Board code of conduct says trustees must never act for their “own benefit” and must avoid activities which “might compromise Citizens Advice’s political neutrality”.
The local Labour branch called on Mrs Mordue to “do the right thing and step down” as a trustee of the charity.
In a statement, the Chair of Buckingham and Bletchley Constituency Labour Party, Maxine Myatt described Mrs Mordue’s actions as “disappointing”.
She said: “It can never be acceptable for a political candidate of any party to attempt to use their association with a well-respected and politically neutral organisation like Citizens Advice to try and influence voters or voting behaviour.
“It’s disappointing that Mrs Mordue has done so repeatedly in an attempt to gain electoral success.
“It is also a flagrant breach of the code of conduct for trustees at Citizens Advice and Jane Mordue should now do the right thing and consider her position and step down as a trustee before she further damages the neutrality of Citizens Advice both locally and nationally.”
The local Labour branch has also written to the national CEO of Citizens Advice Dame Clare Moriarty to ask her to investigate Mrs Mordue’s conduct.
Following, Labour’s criticism of her campaign tactics, Mrs Mordue issued an apology in a statement to the BBC Local Democracy Reporting Service, but said she would not step down as a trustee.
She said: “In an initial campaign leaflet and video I referenced my role as Chair of Citizens Advice Buckinghamshire.
“I should not have done this. It breached Citizens Advice’s policy on political neutrality and I apologise for this lapse in judgement.
“Citizens Advice is a politically neutral and independent organisation which supports anyone who needs its help and I’m deeply sorry my actions may have undermined this position in any way.”
The Tory candidate has worked for Citizens Advice since 2000.
Mrs Mordue lives in Buckingham with her husband, Howard, a former Mayor of Buckingham and current councillor for Buckinghamshire Council.
In the 2 November by-election, she will face Fran Davies of Labour, Anja Schaefer of the Liberal Democrats and Michael Culverhouse of the Green Party.
The by-election was called after Councillor Warren Whyte resigned so he could move to the Isle of Wight full time.