A Tory local election candidate in the St Helen’s ward of the Sussex constituency of Hastings and Rye has been suspended after local army veterans questioned his claims to have served in the Falklands conflict.
An email from the local Labour Councillors has alerted members to concerns raised by local army veterans that Matt Lynch, a Tory candidate in the marginal St Helen’s Ward is claiming to have been a serving Para2 veteran and is not:
Dear Hastings & Rye Labour Party member
There’s an issue which has just emerged with the Conservative candidate for St Helen’s ward, in the Hastings Council elections that take place tomorrow.
Conservative candidate Matt Lynch has been challenged by local veterans to prove that his claims of 14 years military service, including in the Falklands War, are true. Lynch made the BBC South East News headlines last night when local forces veteran Steven Flynn told the BBC that despite expensive enquiries, he could find no record of Lynch ever having served.
Local Parachute Regiment veteran Steven Flynn noticed Lynch’s claim to have served twelve years in 2 Para but did not recognise him and was unable to find any old comrades who did.
Mr Flynn said:
To this day no one knows of him.
It’s an insult to most people and their families. There were men who died on Mount Longdon who never saw their newborn baby. It’s an insult to them.
In response to those concerns, the Conservative party has suspended Lynch pending an investigation and removed his campaign profile from the local party website, but it is too late to change campaign literature, so Mr Lynch will, to all intents and purposes as far as local residents are concerned, stand as a Tory candidate – unless they get the message from local news or social media.
Lynch’s local MP is former Home Secretary Amber Rudd, who resigned at the weekend for misleading MPs and the nation.
The Tories have been dogged by a series of scandals about their local election candidates, ranging from racist and misogynist comments to faked campaign images and ridiculous, false claims in campaign leaflets. These scandals have led to the suspension of a string of candidates.
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