LIBERAL Democrat chiefs have threatened legal action against their Tory counterparts after claiming they have “misled” the public.

Eastleigh Borough Council leader Cllr Keith House has issued the threat to the Conservative group unless they withdraw one of their leaflets.

The literature, which has been delivered to homes across the constituency, features a table with two columns, one headed ‘What the Lib Dems tried to claim now there’s an election’, alongside another titled ‘What the Lib Dems have been forced to admit’.

But Lib Dem campaigners say the words used under the second column, which have been taken from Daily Echo articles, are not the words of their candidate Mike Thornton, but of Conservative group chairman Grant Shapps.

Cllr House personally delivered a letter to Tory agent Kerry Siggins last night.

It reads: “Your literature states, under the heading ‘what the Lib Dems have been forced to admit’: ‘Now their candidate has admitted that they will concrete over the countryside with their plans for 5,000 homes on greenfield sites’.

“What you fail to state is that you are quoting, not an impartial journalist or a Liberal Democrat, but Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps.”

Cllr House describes the move as “one more insult to the intelligence of the residents of Eastleigh”.

He concludes by asking for assurances that the leaflet will be withdrawn and an apology given to residents who have been “misled”.

He states that unless this happens, the party “will be forced to consider legal action”.

Last night a Tory spokesman said: “What this letter illustrates is how the Lib Dems are misleading the people of Eastleigh by promising to protect ‘green spaces’, when their real plan is to build 5,000 houses on green spaces.”