Ashfield's Conservative candidate Lee Anderson caught setting up door-knock with friendly voter

A candidate hoping to be elected in Ashfield has has been caught on camera setting up a chat with a friendly voter after he left his microphone on while being filmed.

Councillor Lee Anderson, who is standing for the Conservatives, was being interviewed by Michael Crick, Political Correspondent for the Mail Plus.

Coun Anderson was showing Mr Crick around Sutton, and speaking to residents in light of a controversial video posted on his Facebook Page last week.

Mr Anderson made headlines last week when he proposed that anti-social tenants should be put in tents in fields and made to pick potatoes, but he did not want to discuss the idea when asked by Mr Crick.

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In the Mail Plus film, Coun Anderson is shown in the car park of The Staff of Life pub on West End, Sutton, before knocking on the door of a voter called “Steve” and introducing himself.

After being asked by Coun Anderson how he will be voting, Steve said: "I'm going with you, there's no way Labour are ever going to get my vote again.

Councillor Lee Anderson, who is standing for the Conservatives, was being interviewed by Michael Crick

Coun Anderson then states: "I can't support this", before asking for the film to be cut.

He then turns to Mr Crick and says: "You've just finished my political career, haven't you?"

Mr Crick says he was later alerted by his producer to a clip of Coun Anderson, still wearing his microphone, making a phone call.

Coun Anderson can clearly be heard saying: "Make out you know who I am and that you're not a friend, alright? I'm in the staff car park have a quick look. See you in a minute."

Mr Crick said he had “long suspected” election candidates set up friendly voters to appear more popular.

“But this is the first time we’ve caught some candidate blatantly in the act,” he said, adding “we should be a little bit more sceptical about what we see on screen”.

He added: "In 40 years covering elections for television, I've never known an encounter quite like this one."

Councillor Jason Zadrozny, who is standing in the election as an independent candidate told Tony Delahunty during an interview for Mansfield 103.2 that this kind of behaviour had 'no place in politics'.

Coun Zadrozny said: "I think when they've met Lee they've realised he's not a serious candidate, and he's desperate for a good news headline, so he stooged up a couple of people to look good for him, and say what a great guy he was, but it went very badly wrong because he forgot to switch his microphone off.

"What's more serious is that he's willing to lie and create these fake news stories for his own benefit when residents of Ashfield deserve much, much better than that.

"I've never known anyone else do that. I met Michael Crick as well that day, and we just walked into the town centre and spoke to people.

"Some people were voting for me, some people weren't, and you take the rough with the smooth, but if you can't do that, then you've got no place in politics."

Sid Pepper, who is is standing as an independent on a pro-Brexit platform in Mansfield told Mr Delahunty this was 'the norm'.

Mr Pepper said: "It's the norm now isn't it, the whole thing is deceitful. On various TV programmes it's all plants and set-ups, and this is no different. It's a plant and a set-up designed to make somebody more appealing than they are.

"I just don't get the need to do that. You stand or fall on your message. He's not really a Brexiteer, he's pretending to be and it's a sadness."

Stephen Harvey, a former Conservative candidate on Mansfield District Council, is standing as an independent in Mansfield at this election.

He told Mr Delahunty that he has warned the Conservative party about Coun Anderson previously.

Coun Harvey said:"It's an issue I've had with the conservatives - they've veered to the right and some of the things they're doing I'm finding very unacceptable.

"Myself and the former chairman have put numerous complaints in to the Conservative Party about Lee's behaviour.

"Personally, I've had candidates stood crying in front of me because of his behaviour."