The Greenwich Labour leadership contest has taken a sinister twist after a blogger received a hoax email apparently designed to "stitch-up" one of the candidates.
Last year Charlton resident Darryl Chamberlain published News Shopper's recording of outgoing leader Chris Roberts threatening his cabinet colleague Councillor John Fahy.
Now he has received an email pretending to be from Cllr Fahy
- apparently designed to see if the cabinet member, expected to run against incumbent Councillor Peter Brooks for the party's deputy leadership, was behind the leak.
The email, traced to Portugal Telecom’s network, read: "Darryl, they know it… I am not confortable with this situation. We should talk. Did you keep the recording on your personal email?"
Cllr Fahy told News Shopper the apparent hoax "looks like something out of a bad novel".
Mr Chamberlain, 39, said: "Clearly someone's trying to stitch up John Fahy so he can't have any power on Greenwich Council after the election. He seems to have a more open agenda to the current Labour leadership, so he's obviously become a threat to someone."
He went on: "It's annoying to be dragged into their games, but it's not a surprise - the local Labour leadership think anyone who makes any criticism of the council, even a mild one, is an enemy to be crushed."
The journalist has reported the incident to a host of top Labour figures, including local Labour chief whip Councillor Ray Walker, but has heard nothing back yet.
He is also considering taking it to the police, but has been advised Cllr Fahy needs to make the initial complaint.
Mr Chamberlain said: "The Labour Party has to investigate this incident and throw out those responsible. It also needs to investigate the culture of the Labour group in Greenwich, and how it's worked over the past few years.
"We know that bullying is leading to bad decision-making because councillors are scared of challenging the leadership."
Cllr Fahy said: "I find the whole thing quite bizarre and frankly it looks like something out of a bad novel.
"The assumption that someone would want to spend hours in trying to pin something or other one me is ridiculous. I’m totally focussed on campaigning for a Labour win in Greenwich.
But Councillor Walker told News Shopper there was unlikley to be any investigation. He said: "I cannot think who would have done it as if it was a ‘senior Labour person’ then the information would already be known unless it refers to something I’m not aware of.
"I also cannot think why they would want the information as I thought most of it had found its way into the public domain.
"Having worked in the industry it is not easy to trace some of these (especially if they don’t want to be traced).
"I’m not sure what action Labour Group could take as we do not have any proof against any individual member of Labour Group and we don’t have the necessary tools to determine fully the exact source of any message."