POLICE are examining a complaint that a parliamentary candidate was featured on council literature.

Durham Police received the complaint after business-style cards with a photograph of Darlington’s Labour parliamentary candidate Jenny Chapman were handed out at a teacher training day earlier this month.

Police have confirmed they are considering the complaint and the council may also carry out an investigation.

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The Northern Echo understands that about 100 of the cards – which included Darlington Borough Council’s logo – were produced by a teacher for the professional development day attended by 1,000 delegates.

Other high-profile individuals from other fields were depicted on similar cards, which were also distributed at the conference.

No other parliamentary candidates were included on the cards, which were designed to highlight former Darlington pupils who have forged successful careers.

Although it is unclear which public fund or organisation paid for the cards, it is understood they were produced at taxpayers’ expense.

Ms Chapman’s political opponents have branded the literature as unfair.

Mike Barker, Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Darlington, said: “The council should not be seen to be favouring any one party in the run-up to the General Election campaign.”

Ian Galletley, area chairman of the Conservative Party, said: “Our complaint is not on behalf of favouring one candidate over another, it is about being fair to all candidates.”

But Ms Chapman, a borough councillor, dismissed the row as a “storm in a tea cup” and insisted that the cards were produced to illustrate success stories from Darlington’s schools.

“Even complaints which are politically motivated should be investigated,” she said.

“It is doubtful whether 100 cards will influence anyone’s vote.”

A council spokeswoman said: “We have received a complaint in relation to conference materials prepared for a teacher’s development day.

“The returning officer has referred the matter to the police for consideration.”