Two newspapers which carried four-page wraparound ads for the Conservative Party in the week before the general election are to review their ad policies following public criticism of the move.
The Eastbourne Herald and Hastings & St Leonards Observer are promising a to carry out a “full review” on whether to accept such wraps in future, particularly from political parties, after comments from readers on social media.
The same wrap also appeared in a number of other regional papers in the days leading up to Thursday’s poll, with more than 1,200 campaigners calling on the Observer to apologise for “prostituting” its front page, pictured below.
Said Gary: “It is clear from the comments we have received that some people feel that this type of advertisement, presented as it was by the Conservative Party in an editorial style, gave the impression that the newspaper supported the party.
“That could not be further from the truth. We are proudly and fiercely politically independent.
“Our only concern is to champion this community and all its residents and workers irrespective of their political outlook. We very much regret it if some readers were given the impression that our neutrality has been compromised.
“In those circumstances it is wholly appropriate to review our advertising policy so that we clearly respond to the genuine concerns of our readers and the people in this community.”
The wrap was also carried in other JP titles including the Lancaster Guardian, although a spokeswoman for the publisher confirmed the review would not be taking place group wide.
Among those who criticised the were former Daventry Express and Craven Herald editor Matt Cornish, who described it as “inexcusable” on Twitter, and Labour’s candidate for the Morecambe and Lunesdale constituency, Amina Lone.