A weekly newspaper criticised for publishing a wraparound promoting the Conservative Party has run a front page advertisement for the Liberal Democrats.
The Westmorland Gazette was one of many regional newspapers to run the Tory wrap earlier this month, but was subsequently made the subject of a 1,000-name petition from readers demanding an apology over what they perceived to be “political bias”.
However, the Gazette is now running a front page advert promoting the Lib Dems in its current edition.
Westmorland and Lonsdale is the constituency served by Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron, who has been its MP since 2005.
The Lib Dem ad was picked up on by Channel 4 News political correspondent Michael Crick, who posted on Twitter: “No Tory monopoly on newspaper wraparound ads. Does this on Westmorland Gazette show nerves about Tim Farron seat?”
After running the Tory wrap, a number of editors came forward to defend the editorial neutrality of their titles – including Andy Parkes, Newsquest group managing editor for South London and Sussex, Jim Parker, Exeter Express & Echo editor, and Devon Live editor Patrick Phelvin.
HTFP has approached the Westmorland Gazette for a comment on the Lib Dem wrap.
Last week, the Shrewsbury Chronicle also ran an advertisement for the Lib Dems on its front page.
Shrewsbury and Atcham was last held by a Liberal Democrat between 2001 and 2005, following sitting Labour MP Paul Marsden’s defection to the party after he publicly opposed the war in Afghanistan.
The seat has been held by Tory Daniel Kawczynski since 2005.