The leaders of the youth wing of the B.C. Liberal Party came under fire yesterday after making what is being called a “premature” endorsement of former cabinet minister George Abbott as their party’s next leader.

Released yesterday by four members of the party’s youth executive, the endorsement, which critics say was improperly launched without the approval of the Young Liberals board, was given to media under the headline “Executive Endorses George Abbott.” All four executives are formally involved in the Abbott for Leader campaign.

“This is another example of an executive that has grown more and more out of touch with the membership base,” said James Plett, who sits on the BCYL board as head of the Simon Fraser University Liberals club. “I’ve been talking to other club presidents, and they’re all disappointed.”

Chris Sandve, past president of the BCYL, and one of the four endorsers, stated that the executives’ decision was made solely as individuals, and was not meant to imply an “institutional endorsement.”

“If any board members want to come out and endorse their own candidates, that’s great too,” he said.