The Liberal Democrats in Watford have today apologised to the Watford Observer for publishing misleading information in their latest election campaign leaflet.

The leaflet, which was delivered to thousands of homes across the constituency last weekend, presents a quote attributed to the Watford Observer that stated: “The signs look good for the Lib Dems to topple Claire Ward.”

However, the quote was actually taken from a story in May 2007, when the quote was clearly attributed to the Mayor of Watford, Dorothy Thornhill, a Liberal Democrat.

It in no way reflects comment or opinion that has been expressed by the Watford Observer.

This is the second time this quote has been used by the Liberal Democrats.

In October 2007, five months after the original story was published, Sal Brinton, the Liberal Democrat prospective parliamentary candidate for Watford, apologised for reproducing the quote and attributing it to the Watford Observer in a campaign leaflet.

Watford Observer group editor Peter Wilson-Leary said: “To the casual reader it suggests the Watford Observer is backing the Liberal Democrats when our editorial policy is that we are independent of political parties, private interest and government. “In 2007 the party apologised for the error and promised a written assurance that it would not be repeated.

“It is extremely disappointing to find out that exactly the same thing has happened again. Another leaflet carries the same quote, same attribution.

“I can only conclude that the matter was not taken seriously enough back in 2007 and that steps taken to ensure this mistake did not happen again were inadequate.”

Ms Brinton said today: “I'm shocked and very upset that it's happened again. It was a mistake by a volunteer who is new to Watford and wasn't picked up by our proof reader.

“It was a mistake and I'm very, very sorry about it.

“I have had stern words with the team and the file was deleted so it won't happen again.”

She added that thousands of undelivered leaflets had now been recalled.