THE latest Lib Dem election campaign letter – which includes advice from a political betting expert - has sparked a backlash for failing to mention he is also a former Lib Dem candidate.

The letter addressed to residents in the York Outer constituency is published by Mike Smithson, a former Liberal Democrat councillor and MP candidate turned political betting analyst, on behalf of the Lib Dems.

In the letter, that has been published nationally, Mr Smithson states that “the Liberal Democrats have the best chance to win seats from the Conservatives, keeping them from a majority.”

Mr Smithson added: “I’m not here to tell you who to vote for, but I hope this information is useful to you when making a decision.”

Labour councillor for York, Jonny Crawshaw, said: “Residents across York Outer have received an apparently independent letter from a Mike Smithson urging them to vote Lib Dem. It would appear from reports in the media that this letter has been delivered nationally and that Mike Smithson is a former Lib Dem candidate and councillor who has turned his hand to political betting. Political betting is quite distinct from opinion polling.

“The only way you would know this is a political leaflet is by reading the small print that all parties are legally obliged to include on their campaign literature.

“Once again the Lib Dems are damaging trust in politics through underhand and misleading tactics.

“People on the doorstep tell us they are sick of being bombarded by their leaflets and cannot understand why they are risking splitting the anti-Tory vote when Labour is so clearly the best-placed party to take the seat from Julian Sturdy.”

A Liberal Democrat spokesperson said: “The leaflet has a clear imprint stating it is published by the Liberal Democrats. As is stated repeatedly in the letters, in these constituencies, Liberal Democrat success depends on Conservative voters lending us their vote.”

The row comes as polls published in some Lib Dem leaflets were branded 'misleading'.