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Tories accused of ‘Trump tactics’ over pamphlet resembling local paper

The Conservative Party has been accused of “Trump tactics” as the row over election pamphlets resembling local newspapers took a fresh turn.

Zarah Sultana, the Labour candidate for Coventry South, has hit out at the Tories over the publication of Coventry South Future, which is being distributed in the constituency.

The regional press industry has launched a fightback against ‘fake newspapers’ produced by political parties after HTFP highlighted a number of instances of the practice during this election campaign.

Newsquest has reported the Liberal Democrats to the Electoral Commission after the party published a freesheet called the Mid Hampshire Gazette which the publisher said mimicked its Baisngstoke Gazette title.

Cov South

Ms Sultana told the Coventry Observer: “Coventry South Tories have produced and distributed this sheet of propaganda masquerading as a local newspaper. These are dishonest fake-news Trump tactics.

“It’s clear what Tories take Coventry South voters for. Will the Tory candidate apologise and withdraw this fake newspaper?”

A Tory spokesman responded: “This type of literature is commonly used by parties up and down the country and meets all the relevant laws and guidelines.

“It’s a useful way to highlight our excellent Coventry South candidate, Mattie Heaven, and update local residents on our plans to get Brexit done and focus on people’s priorities like the NHS, schools and policing.”

Newsquest has lodged an official complaint with the Liberal Democrats over the publication of the Mid Hampshire Gazette, while editorial director Toby Granville threatened to advise the company’s editors not to publish Lib Dem election campaign news unless it was pulled.

JPIMedia group content development director Tim Robinson has since posted comparative images online of JPIMedia weekly the Glenrothes Gazette and the North East Fife Gazette, a Lib Dem publication which is described as a “free local newspaper”, although Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson has defended the practice.

News Media Association chairman David Dinsmore has called on all political parties to put an immediate end to the practice, while the Society of Editors has also called for new “clear, enforceable guidelines on political freesheets” to be introduced as a result of the row.

HTFP has approached Coventry Observer editor Les Reed for his views.


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  • December 6, 2019 at 3:39 pm

    They have done this across the country.
    In the Somerset constituency of Wells they printed information about Wales… So not a stunning success.

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  • December 9, 2019 at 4:12 pm

    The Ministry of Lies, not to be confused with @CCHQPress, is working overtime.

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