You’re gaga! Cambridge Labour candidate involved in Twitter spat with old lady
Trinity College fellow and city council candidate, Dr Peter Sarris is under fire for calling a pensioner “gaga” on twitter.
Forget the Union, scandals are now affecting real politicians in Cambridge. Peter Sarris, who is contesting the East Chesterton seat in today’s city council election, even questioned if the 79-year-old was still alive.
Tweeting at Lib Dem candidate Ian Manning, Dr Sarris referred to a photograph of pensioner Shirley Fieldhouse on the rival party’s campaign leaflet.
Speaking to Cambridge News, Miss Fieldhouse, a retired personal assistant who previously worked at the University’s Physics Department, responded to the tweet by saying: “It’s not the kind of behaviour one would expect from a candidate standing for election.
“One has to be very careful what one puts out on the internet, but I think sometimes people are very careless.”
Initially, Dr Sarris claimed his Twitter account had been hacked, later clarifying that a housemate had used his account. He insisted:
“It was nothing to do with me. It was someone who lives with me… They wrote it on my Twitter for a joke. They are not political.
“I am horrified by what was said and the person responsible will be giving a full and frank apology.”
Speaking to us, a first year Trinity historian was surprised by the news:
“I actually never see him [Sarris] around anymore, but as far as I know I doubt he’d do such a thing!’
Spencer Hagard, Cambridge Liberal Democrat chairman, described the comments as ‘an absolute disgrace’ and ‘extremely damaging’.
Reece Edmends, Chair of the Cambridge Student Liberal Democrats, added:
“Dr Sarris’ comments show an arrogant disregard for his prospective constituents.
“We would like to reassure Dr Sarris that the constituent concerned is very much ‘still alive’ and is looking forward to voting for a much more respectable candidate.”
When approached for comment, Fred Cotterill, Cambridge University Labour Club’s Publicity Officer said: “This comment was not sent by Peter Sarris, as was fully accepted by the person the comment referred to.
“Someone unconnected to the Labour Party sent the tweet without Peter’s knowledge. If after fourteen years running Cambridge, the best the Lib Dems can offer is rather tawdry untruths about tweets, I think that tells you everything about their complacent administration.
“Labour has spent the campaign talking about our programme of reform for the city; the living wage, affordable housing, fair distribution of economic growth.
“Let’s see if citizens endorse our progressive agenda, or the Liberals’ tired smear attempts tomorrow in the vote.”
Dr Sarris has since spoken to Miss Fieldhouse apologising, but it is not clear if this eleventh-hour scandal will affect the vote.