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'Real People' leaflet issued by Stockton South MP James Wharton used stock photos of Spanish models
A NORTH-East MP was left red-faced after his leaflet boasted of “helping local people” – next to a picture of two Spanish models.
The brochure issued by James Wharton, Conservative MP for Stockton South, is also emblazoned with the words “Real People”, alongside the attractive young couple.
And the page reads: “Everyone knows someone who’s been helped by James.”
Last night, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for the highly-marginal constituency described the leaflet as “embarrassing”.
But Mr Wharton hit back, insisting the publication was not misleading in any way, because it did not directly state that the couple were local people.
And he pointed out that, on other pages, it contained around 20 photos of people who were genuinely his constituents.
Mr Wharton said: “I do newsletters all the time and work hard to be here all year round, not just at elections. As usual, this newsletter is full of local news and local photos.
“The fact that my political opponents - who seem to do little, if anything, in our community - are criticising the use of one stock photo is very odd.”
The picture was highlighted by the left-wing website politicalscrapbook.net, which tracked down the original to a Spanish photo agency called photaki It pointed out that Mr Wharton’s brochure followed a similar embarrassment in pictures used by Tory chairman Grant Shapps.
Meanwhile, a Conservative website highlighted the help to British motorists from a freeze in UK fuel duty, next to the picture of a young American - at the wheel of a left-hand drive car.
Louse Baldock, Labour’s candidate in Stockton South for the 2015 general election, said: “It’s embarrassing for James Wharton, considering the leaflet says real people.
“Perhaps he should do more casework himself and then his leaflets would have more real people to focus on.”
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