Political leaflets and social media posts are not subject to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) requirements that adverts are legal, decent, honest and truthful.

But you can check out the Facts here.

If you get any leaflets with statements or allegations you doubt, send them over and I will gladly Fact-Check them for you.


This is fact-checking a video and Facebook posted 7th July 2022 making claims about Surrey Heath Borough Council and LibDems achievements:

Claim 1: ‘the Tory administration of Surrey Heath have taken our Borough to the brink of insolvency’

Fact-Check 1: There is no basis for this statement; the truth is the opposite, SHBC has been financially strengthened in the last few years. See below for more details

Claim 2: ‘We were at the forefront of the local pandemic response’

Fact-Check 2: Surrey Heath Prepared was the local pandemic response involving people who put political alliances aside to work together as a team. Surrey Heath Prepared was an initiative begun by three non-LibDem activists (in fact Conservative activists) – Paul Deach, Attieh Fard and myself, the Sunday before lockdown.

It was after Paul Deach launched it via Facebook that evening that other people came on board.

To claim the LibDems were ‘at the forefront’ might be a reasonable suggestion if expressed in a neutral way, but to say so in the context of a claim that the LibDems represent a change from the Conservatives, who led the initiative, is somewhere between disingenuous, misleading, and an outright lie. 

Claim 3: ‘We’ve campaigned against planning injustices’

Fact-Check 3: The longer Facebook post confirms this refers to the Chapel Lane development. The suggestion that the LibDems were differentially vocal on this does not stack up with the facts. Michael Gove the so-called ‘absentee MP’ gave evidence against the development. 

Claim 4: ‘We’ve exposed the Conservative financial mishandling of our Borough Council’s Finances’

Fact-Check 4: It’s not clear what this refers to, but it could be the allegation that the Council ‘overpaid’ for the shopping centre, which was not supported by the independent report commissioned by the LibDem Chaired Finance and Scrutiny Committee, or that the Council has ‘lost money’ on the shopping centre, which is rebuked in the Fact-Check here.

Or it might be the allegation that the Council has ‘lost’ £40m of reserves, a typographical error whipped up into hyperbole by the LibDems, which is Fact-Checked here.

Neither of these allegations stands up to the most basic scrutiny.

Claim 5: ‘We’ve supported tenants threatened with eviction’

Fact-Check 5: This refers to the ‘Deepcut 50’ residents who were renting accommodation from the MoD and suddenly received a 3 month notice of eviction. Paul Deach contacted Michael Gove who arranged a meeting with the Minister of State, Jeremy Quinn, and the eviction notices were consequently extended from 3 months to 18 months. 

It’s true the LibDems supported these tenants, but the facts don’t support the implication that they made any difference. It’s crass to denigrate Michael Gove as an ‘absentee MP’ when he was very much engaged on this issue.

Claim 6: ‘(We’ve) campaigned to reinstate public access to Ash Ranges’

Fact-Check 6: The LibDems have made supportive noises on this subject, but it is misleading to suggest that their contribition  has been reprsentative of ‘change’. I have been at the vanguard of this issue since June 2020, together with Attieh Fard, Paul Deach and Michael Gove, and many others including Peter Corns. More details below.

Claim 7: ‘We’ve shown who we are’

Fact-Check 7: This is accurate.

The LibDems have shown they believe voters will be fooled by spurious criticisms and allegations that do not stand up to the most basic scrutiny.

They have shown they believe that voters will be fooled by their hanging onto the coat-tails of the achievements of others, exaggerating, disorting or  inventing the truth.


A video appeared on Facebook 7 July 2022.

It says:

“Locally, the Tory administration of Surrey Heath have taken our Borough to the brink of insolvency, and our absentee MP continues his long record of wilful neglect of our constituency.

We need to change more than ever. Over the last three years, we have shown that we represent that change.

We were at the forefront of the local pandemic response, we’ve campaigned against planning injustices, we’ve exposed the Conservative financial mishandling of our Borough Council’s Finances, we’ve supported tenants threatened with eviction, and campaigned to reinstate public access to Ash Ranges.

We’ve shown who we are.”

This was accompanied by this:

The Facts

Surrey Heath Borough Council Financial Strength
Surrey Heath Borough Council has not been any where near insolvency.  The graph below from the National Audit Office shows the average position of similar Councils acrosss the country, in terms of the Amount of Reserves as a % of Spending Power, i.e. what the Council spends each year:

Reserves serve as a financial contingency against uncertainty. The greater the % of Reserves, the more resilient the Council is against unexpected costs or revenue shortfalls, and the further away from ‘insolvency’ they are.

Here’s the graph for Surrey Heath Borough Council, alongside the average graph:

You will see that the Reserves are much greater than the average, and have got stronger in the last few years, going from 200% to 300%. This is not a Council that has been ‘taken to the brink of insolvency’.

To see what a Council looks like that has been taken to the brink of insolvency, we can look at the equivalent graphs for Croydon, which did go ‘insolvent’ in 2020, and Sutton, which has been under LibDem control since 1990. Croydon’s reserves have fallen to 15%, and Sutton’s have fallen as low at 20%:

Ash Ranges Lock-out

Concerned about the rumoured changes to the byelaws to access the ranges, myself, Attieh Fard and Paul Deach had a Zoom call with Michael Gove in February 2020. As a result, Michael arranged a meeting with us, Ben Wallace the Defence Secretary, and the MPs for Woking (Jonathan Lord), Bracknell (James Sunderland), and NE Hants (Ranil Jayawardena):

Here is the briefing paper that we prepared for the meeting: June 2020 Ben Wallace Meeting Briefing Paper. We specifically raised the problem of ungoverned activity to restrict public access, i.e. Ash Ranges ‘lock-out’.

Later that month I met Peter Corns and local residents at Ash Ranges to discuss the lock-out:

In April 2021 Peter Corns organised the ‘Save Ash Ranges’ march covered by ITV. My daughter Gabby and I were at the front of the march, behind the organisers, along with Cllr Nigel Manning:

Alisdair Pinkerton was present, but didn’t take part in the march.

Whilst the LibDems may have made supportive noises on the subject of Ash Ranges access, it’s dishonest for them to suggest they have been some sort of superior force for change over and above the efforts of myself, Gabby, Attieh, Paul, Peter, Nigel, Michael and many more.

Stuart Black, July 2022.