AN election candidate “hi-jacked” a community group’s website by posting a polling day message.
Peter Pankhurst was yesterday accused of “attempting to undermine the democratic process” during last week’s Kirkburton Parish Council by-election.
The Green Party candidate added a banner promoting his campaign to Kirkburton and Highburton Community Association’s website.
Mr Pankhurst was elected to one of two vacant seats for the Kirkburton ward in Thursday’s by-election.
On polling day he posted a message on the association’s homepage reading: “16th Feb 2012 vote Green. The party that cares. The party that works for you”.
Association chairman Mike Greetham, who stood for Labour in last week’s by-election, accused Mr Pankhurst of “hi-jacking” the website.
He told the Examiner: “It is outrageous that anyone should try to undermine the democratic process by attaching fictitious political views to an organisation like the community association.
“Many years ago I was one of the founders of the association, and I am currently the chair. The group includes members of several political parties and we have always been very careful to keep party politics out of the picture.
“Whilst it is difficult to know when the site was hi-jacked, the hit counter on Thursday showed 815 people had viewed it, more than the 677 people who actually voted. Many of those seeing it would be local electors.”