Liberal Democrats are standing by a young candidate who has posted provocative pictures of herself on the internet.
Pictures emerged this week of Holly-Ann Battye – who is standing for election in the district council ward of Cosgrove and Grafton in next month’s local elections – on the www.deviantart.com website, posted under the user name HollyTheWolly.
One image, which the Advertiser considers unsuitable for publication, shows Ms Battye lying on her back with a ball gag in her mouth and her hands covering her chest.
One also shows her with a ball gag and what appears to be a trickle of blood coming from her nose.
Ms Battye said in a statement that the pictures had come to light because ruling Conservatives on South Northants District Council were trying to turn attentions away from local issues.
Ms Battye said: “I find it reprehensible that narrow-minded local Tories would seek to stifle proper political debate on their inadequate record.
“By deflecting people from the real issues they are trying to hide their failure to deliver decent services while spending money on grand new offices for themselves.
“My artwork has nothing to do with this campaign but this slur has everything to do with the Tories feeling threatened.
“I suppose they would prefer it if there was no democracy and only Tory candidates could stand, like in many of the seats across this ‘rotten borough’ they have created.”
Ms Battye is standing against Conservative Ian McCord who said: “The Lib Dem candidate shows the dangers of social media websites, but it is irrelevant.
“This election is about policy and the direction of the council in the next few years.
“I have not heard a single alternative policy idea, nothing on the level of the council tax, planning, re-generation of our towns, or making this district one of the best places to live in the country. I look forward to debating these issues.”
South Northants Lib Dems chairman Jane Hollis stood by her candidate and added: “She is an artist and she sells images as a business. She is young and what I want to see is a refreshing change to all the elderly Tories sat on the council.”
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