Truth is the first casualty in war, goes the old saying. Sadly, it seems increasingly clear that it is also a victim in elections, as I was reminded on two recent occasions.

The first was when my Conservative opponent, Greg Stafford launched an online petition to stop the ‘proposed merger’ between Waverley and Guildford borough councils.

I asked Mr Stafford if he could share this merger proposal because I, like many of your readers, had heard the leader of Waverley Borough Council angrily deny that there was any active plan to create a new single council entity. 

But Stafford and his Conservative colleagues were curiously silent and instead pointed out that people had concerns about the joint management team and where council officials work. Maybe so, but this is far from a merger.

It strikes me as very disrespectful to our community to claim he is trying to halt a policy that doesn’t exist.

The second occasion was rather different. In these pages, Lib Dem councillor Spence tried to encourage readers to vote tactically for the Lib Dem candidate because, he claimed, no opinion poll suggests that Labour can win here.

Polls predicting the result in the new Farnham & Bordon parliamentary constituency vary wildly between polling companies
Polls predicting the result in the new Farnham & Bordon parliamentary constituency vary wildly between polling companies (David Pisnoy)

In fact, multiple polls in the last few months have Labour in second place in this new constituency. And, alas for Mr Spence, that very same weekend the Sunday Times published a Spring mega poll suggesting Labour could beat Mr Stafford. The Sunday Times figures show that Labour is less than five per cent behind the Conservatives in Farnham and Bordon, and nearly four per cent ahead of the Lib Dems.

Frankly, the only poll that really matters is the one which takes place on election day. But this tactic frequently characterises Lib Dem campaigns. Their leaflets regularly feature dubious bar charts without source or evidence which claim they are ‘winning here’.

Misinformation or fake news, call it what you will, turns a lot of people off wanting to engage in politics and policy debates.

Integrity and high standards of behaviour in public life matter, but sadly we have all witnessed them deteriorating over the course of this government.

It’s time this stopped. I am calling on all candidates in the coming general election to stand up for honesty.

Being honest should never be seen as taking the moral high ground. It’s simply the very least all of us standing for public office owe you, the voters.

Alex Just

Labour parliamentary candidate for Farnham & Bordon