Policy goes here: a Tory leaflet template and other election gaffes

Every election agent’s dread is that their local election campaign material might make the headlines for all the wrong reasons. On the eve of polling day, here are some of the howlers pushed through letterboxes in the areas of UK that will be voting.

Pride of place must go to the Conservatives in Ilford, who managed to print out and deliver the template for their leaflet, without adding in any of their policies or achievements:

Phil Stanier
(@PhilStanier)

Nice leaflet from the Ilford Conservative Party. #MailMergeFail pic.twitter.com/gcU6JZMgi7

May 1, 2018

The Tories have also run into spelling trouble in the borough of Redbridge, which Ilford belongs to, but this time the name of one of their own candidates. They have had to issue leaflets explaining that their candidate Mahboob Chaudhary will appear on ballot papers as Matthew Chaudhary “due to an administrative error”.

RedbridgeYoungLabour
(@Redbridge_YL)

From the looks of it, at least hundreds of these leaflets have been delivered in the ward. You just can’t make it up. pic.twitter.com/rJvXw2yCox

May 1, 2018

Presumably the same administrative error meant they got his name wrong on their own website as well … website states that it is “Promoted by [Name of Election Agent] on behalf of [Name of Candidate] both at [Address of Election Agent]”.

Screenshot of the Redbridge Conservatives website, with the wrong candidate name and a boilerplate imprint.



Screenshot of the Redbridge Conservatives website, with the wrong candidate name and a boilerplate imprint. Photograph: Redbridge Conservatives

Conservatives in Trafford were unable even to spell the name of their party correctly. The mistake was pointed out by several social media users, including Stephane Savary, who is standing for Labour in Altrincham.

Stephane Savary
(@stephane_ulrich)

Where to start…

Trafford Conservatives can’t spell ‘Conservatives’ on their own literature… Perhaps explaining their mismanagement of the borough.

Top work👍#Trafford #Altrincham pic.twitter.com/Ka0VzcZWX9

April 7, 2018

A rather more serious issue occurred in Dudley, where the Conservative candidate Kamran Razzaq issued a leaflet which asked “What have Labour delivered to this ward?” and provided the answer “Hepatitis.”

“Mr Razzaq’s leaflet was produced without being vetted,” said the Conservative leader of the council Patrick Harley. “The local association have suspended him pending an investigation.”

Dean Perks
(@DeanPerks)

The worst election leaflet I’ve ever seen. Disgusting.
Political difference is fine but to accuse a political party of “delivering” hepatitis is beyond the pale and a full apology should be given.
It also makes out UKIP getting two defibrillators is less of an achievement 🙈 pic.twitter.com/SYhOwMUgqp

April 29, 2018

The mention of hepatitis is believed to be related to a primary school in nearby Wednesbury that was closed for two days before Christmas following a case of Hepatitis A and an outbreak of Norovirus.

In Swindon, it was Labour’s picture choice that caused a stir. An election leaflet featuring candidate Simon Firth showed him standing in front of a popular local attraction, Lower Shaw Farm. The owner of the farm, Matt Holland, is angry that the image was used without his permission, and appears to imply that the farm endorses Labour.

A photo mishap of a different kind befell Conservatives in Enfield Southgate, where they were accused of sending a doctored photo to the local press. The picture appears to show the former MP for Enfield Southgate David Burrowes and his dog at a residents’ protest meeting that neither he nor his dog attended.

The fact that the dog appeared to be floating in mid-air was a significant clue, and social media users quickly dubbed the affair #doggate.

Malcolm Tucker
(@Tucker5law)

Sometimes the comedy just writes itself. #Doggate pic.twitter.com/jyUXsk66lb

May 2, 2018

The Enfield Independent, who were sent the dodgy image, which they initially published, say they had still not received an explanation from the Conservatives. The local Tories have also been unable to stop the image of Burrowes and his dog propagating on social media.

Man In The Suitcase
(@HermitMark)

pic.twitter.com/jBWI5xzFhq

May 2, 2018

Anybody who has followed local politics for any length of time will know the running jokes about the Liberal Democrat graphs that aren’t especially statistically accurate, but this time it’s Labour’s turn to claim a production error caused them to fall into the same trap in Colchester.

Dominic Graham
(@domcgraham)

It’s refreshing to see a leaflet with a made-up bar chart from @ColchesterLab

Obviously it’s disappointing to see such a blatant fabrication.

But after this appalling effort they can’t possible criticise any @LibDems bar chart ever again! pic.twitter.com/DhidkojXOx

April 26, 2018

When it was pointed out that one of their leaflets contained a completely fictional graph, a local activist explained that the draft version of the graph had gone into print by mistake.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/rss