An MP has been accused of hijacking the masthead of his local weekly newspaper and using it in his own political newsletter.
The Weston & The Villages Gazette has been posted across North Somerset and features a number of Conservative press releases featuring local MP John Penrose.
However its masthead bears a striking resemblance to that of the Cheddar Valley Gazette, which circulates in the same area.
Now editor Bede MacGowan has called on Mr Penrose to make a clear distinction between the two titles.
Said Bede: “They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but in this instance there is a more serious issue at stake.
“It’s vital our readers can be confident in our neutrality when it comes to politics and we take a very dim view of anything which threatens to undermine that.
“We would respectfully request that Mr Penrose takes the necessary steps to ensure his constituents are made aware there is no connection whatsoever between these two publications.”
However acccording to the Conservative Party the newsletter has been produced in the same style and format twice before, ahead of the 2005 elections and the 2010 elections.
In response, Mr Penrose said the masthead would be “unlikely to confuse people”.
He added: “We’d hope that after more than ten years of distributing our leaflet it would be unlikely people would confuse the two but we agree that with an election in the offing a reputable and long established title like the Cheddar Valley Gazette needs to maintain its hard won reputation for political independence, so of course we’re happy to confirm that the two publications are not linked.”