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Local Elections 2003

Labour councillor's election punch not as effective as John Prescott's
The deputy leader of a Labour-controlled council took dramatic steps to try to increase interest in this Thursday's local elections today. While out campaigning in his Staffordshire constituency, a "protestor" who had been specially hired for the occasion threw an egg at Douglas Ramsbottom, a councillor for over twenty years. Mr Ramsbottom was hit in the face and immediately hit back at the protestor with a left hook, much in the way Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott did in the 2001 general election.

However, the incident was soon found out to be a badly orchestrated stunt after the so-called protestor was photographed receiving a brown envelope stuffed with cash from Mr Ramsbottom over a pub lunch.

A spokesman for Mr Ramsbottom said that he was just trying to create "a bit of excitement". "Like in the last general election, nobody is interested in this election," said Gregory T Mullet from the local Labour Association. "Doug is an experienced and respected politician he just wanted a bit of street-cred by thumping someone. He now accepts that it wasn't a good idea."

Other candidates for Mr Ramsbottom's ward have also tried their own publicity stunts. A woman standing for the Liberal Democrats was seen riding naked through the streets on a white horse handing out flyers to passers-by, while the Conservative candidate "accidentally" shot a hunt saboteur on his estate. The official candidate for the Monster Raving Loony Party meanwhile declared a complete ban on all things silly, turned up to public meetings dressed normally and without a water pistol, and has yet to blow a raspberry at any of the other candidates, but to little effect.

A spokesman for the local police said that they had initially been involved today's incident but both men have now said they do not intend to press charges.

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