As previously reported on HTFP, David Cameron has come under fire from journalists in the industry for the way they have been treated during campaign visits to their patches.
Last weeek the Prime Minister apologised to the Huddersfield Daily Examiner and agreed to a ten-minute interview with its political reporter after she was given just one minute with the PM on a previous visit.
But within 24 hours he was further accused of a local media “snub” by weekly title Bedfordshire on Sunday after only taking questions from national broadcasters during a visit to Bedford.
Speaking to the Manchester Evening News Mr Campbell said Labour has given local reporters access on “every visit” during the 1997 and 2001 election campaigns when he served as Tony Blair’s director of communications
Mr Campbell, pictured above left, added: “In my day, we made sure we spoke to every local paper in the place we went. Often it meant arranging picking up reporters in lay-bys.
“I know, having been involved this time around, the local and regional press are part of the planning of every visit the party and Ed Miliband does.
“David Cameron has not met a single person he’s not been planned and scheduled to meet. The Tories, including Osborne, say they love being out campaigning and meeting real people. But the truth is, they’re not.”
Other regional newspapers to have complained over their treatment by the Conservative Party during visits by high-profile politicians in this campaign include the Nottingham Post, The Yorkshire Post and the East Anglian Daily Times.
The MEN’s own local government reporter, Jennifer Williams, last week wrote an editorial in which she said political parties’ lack of communication with the local press had “strategised that basic human interaction out of their daily grid”.
Mr Campbell added: “Despite what I thought about John Major, you can’t say he didn’t get out there and engage with people. The media is very important in campaigns.
“And if you’re an undecided voter, you know what the big stuff is from the television; they don’t care about that stuff.
“Campaigning is about getting to people and actually speaking to them. Local media is a big part of that.
“I was a control freak. You do have to be in control of a campaign. But that doesn’t mean we didn’t have real engagement.”