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Weekly hits back after MP claims he was ‘airbrushed’ out of photo

A weekly newspaper has rubbished an MP’s claim that he had been “airbrushed out of history” after it cropped him out of a photograph.

The Doncaster Free Press has hit back at Nick Fletcher, the Tory MP for Don Valley, after he compared the paper to Soviet Communist Party publication Pravda.

It came after Mr Fletcher was cropped out of a photo accompanying a story in the Free Press about an event he had attended, along with, hosted by business group Doncaster Chamber.

Labour MPs Rosie Winterton and Ed Miliband appeared in the picture, along with Labour Mayor of Doncaster Ros Jones.

The cropped photo that sparked Mr Fletcher's complaint

The cropped photo that sparked Mr Fletcher’s complaint

However, the DFP has explained there was a “far more mundane” reason for Mr Fletcher’s omission, citing “a design and template issue”.

In a Facebook post entitled ‘FREE PRESS OR PRAVDA?’, Mr Fletcher wrote: “It would seem that I don’t exist. I have been airbrushed out of history by Doncaster Free Press. Photo edited. Name removed. Cancelled.”

He added: “I have been removed. It has been deliberately edited. Why? I’m taken aback. I will reflect on this latest incident and will consider what needs to be done.

“I am genuinely astounded and also rather worried as to what this may mean for the people of Doncaster who read and rely upon the Doncaster Free Press.”

The Free Press hit back at Mr Fletcher’s comments in its own statement on Facebook.

The paper said: “The reason behind the cropped photo is far more mundane. Free Press page designers work with set template page designs. On this occasion, the picture box on the page was square, while the picture supplied was rectangular.

“Mr Fletcher, sitting on the far right of the photo and a distance apart from Dame Rosie Winterton, Ros Jones and Ed Miliband, was omitted from the print version because of the cropping to fit a rectangular photo into a square box.

“From a design perspective, because of the wording on the backdrop and the extended distance between Mr Fletcher and Mr Miliband, the picture was cropped on the right.

“Photos are cropped in newspapers all the time to fit shapes, with some people sometimes being missed off. It happens. It is a design and template issue.

“It certainly isn’t deliberate or to ‘airbrush’ people out of history. The full uncropped version was used in an earlier online version of the story, where rectangular pictures, rather than square are standard.

“We hope this clarifies the matter for Mr Fletcher and readers.”

Mr Fletcher told HTFP: “I do my best to keep my constituents in the picture with 5-10 updates on social media every working day.

“I simply hope that in future my local paper will literally keep me in the picture too.”