A company which produces fake local newspapers has defended the practice after promoting its services at the Liberal Democrats’ party conference.
Some Conservative MPs have even used the names of real former newspapers to head up their leaflets, such as the Lincoln Chronicle and High Peak Reporter.
But Election Workshop, which has set up a stall at the Lib Dem conference in Bournemouth to promote its new ‘Tabloid’ product, has hailed what it calls an “effective way of communicating with people”
The firm is a sub-brand of Manchester-based company Letter Workshop, a design and production agency which specialises in political campaign material.
An accompanying leaflet, pictured below, advises politicians how they can “win” by using the product, with 12 and 16-page editions among those available.
Regional and national press trade body the News Media Association has criticised the presence of the stall at the Lib Dems’s conference.
In a statement issued on X, the NMA said: “At the Lib Dem Conference an official exhibition stand offers to make fake local newspapers for election candidates.
“By mimicking the look and feel of real local papers, these party political publications undermine confidence in both politicians and the press. Don’t be duped.”
The Electoral Commission has previously said it is “powerless” to act on the practice, while the UK Government has also refused to step in, telling HTFP that fake local newspapers “should not be regulated”.
Defending the company’s work, Letter Workshop director Charles Glover told HTFP: “All our campaigning literature including tabloids makes clear it’s from the Liberal Democrats.
“Tabloid newspapers are an effective way of communicating with people and have been used by all political parties for years.
“Having a strong local media play a critical role in holding those in power to account and we will continue working closely with local newspapers across the country.”
HTFP has approached the Lib Dems for a comment.