Party political advertisements dominated the front pages of several local newspapers yesterday as readers prepared to go to the polls in local elections.
The advert advocates voting for the Tories in the forthcoming General Election on 8 June, with particular focus on current Prime Minister Theresa May.
However, voters in Mansfield, Rhyl and Stockport also go to the polls in elections for Nottinghamshire County Council, Denbighshire County Council and the directly-elected mayor of Greater Manchester respectively today.
Trinity Mirror, publisher of the Stockport Express, said the wraps will appear on nine of its titles over the course of this week. HTFP has also asked Johnston Press, which owns the Chad, for a comment on the wraps.
The adverts were picked up on by Channel 4 News political correspondent Michael Crick, who asked his followers on Twitter to send him examples of other local newspapers giving over their front pages to party political messages.
Michael posted: “These wraparounds over four pages are clever way of getting local newspapers to deliver election leaflets, especially when short of activists.
“And in the current dreadful climate for local papers, which one would reject lucrative advertising, even from a political party?”
One of the examples sent in to Michael was last week’s Chester Standard front page, which was given over to an advertisement for Labour’s sitting City of Chester MP Chris Mathieson.
HTFP has also asked NWM Media, owner of both the Standard and the Rhyl, Prestatyn and Abergele Journal, for a comment.
The hompeage of the Bath Chronicle’s website also features a wraparound advert for local Tory MP Ben Howlett.
Similar adverts promoting the Conservatives appeared on the front pages of several weeklies covering marginal areas in the tun up to the 2015 General Election – including the Lancaster Guardian, Lincolnshire Echo, Eastbourne Herald and Hastings & St Leonards Observer.
The decision to publish led the Herald and the Observer, both owned by JP, to pledge a “full review” of their advertising policies after more than 1,200 campaigners called on the latter to apologise for “prostituting” its front page.