Brexit supporters deface and return government's £9.3m pro-EU leaflet on Twitter
Pro-EU leaflets issued by the UK government urging voters to remain in Europe are being defaced and returned to the Conservative Party by Brexit campaigners on Twitter.
As details of the direct marketing campaign emerged a few days ago, the government faced criticism from over the £9.3m stunt, as it was revealed that the promotional material had been funded by UK taxpayers and sent to every home in Britain.
London mayor Boris Johnson, who accused fellow ministers of attempting to "scare people" with the campaign, added: "It's crazy to use quite so much taxpayers' money on stuff that is basically intended to scare people and to stampede people in one direction.”
The leaflet, which warns of the economic effects of leaving the union was described as "necessary and right" by the prime minister who pointed to the fact that his government was not neutral in the referendum.
As a result, leave supporters have taken to Twitter to urge people to return the leaflets to David Cameron.
— Tomas Thurogood-Hyde (@tomasth89) April 11, 2016
My waste of taxpayer funds leaflet is on the way back to the joker who sent it #Brexit pic.twitter.com/e9wCJgA1ju — Craig (@Zoot_C) April 11, 2016
Others argued that regardless of stance, the government had "no consent" to spend voters' money on the campaign.
#EUleaflet whatever your stance no consent to spend our money on #torypropoganda return to them pic.twitter.com/EJegmPYXg8 — Mrs (@hereinbed) April 11, 2016
I make no secret that I'll b voting #StrongerIn, but millions spent on leaflet you can't trust? Not good. #eu #vote pic.twitter.com/45rrReinMf — Christopher Nash (@blackberrychris) April 12, 2016
Tweeters started to get creative, suggesting a series of "useful things" to do with the leaflet.
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Well that was a waste of £9m #euleaflet pic.twitter.com/H8juZBCb7f — Russell Osborne (@Russell_Osborne) April 11, 2016
Some recipients backed the initiative on the basis that the government had committed to its beliefs in writing.
Got my pro-EU leaflet. Not sure it's worth £9m, but there's something about having Gov't promise in writing #brexit pic.twitter.com/7IN71jMZr8 — Jimmy Williams (@JimmySwims) April 12, 2016
The campaign has also courted some controversy offline, with a Brexit supporter telling the Telegraph that he was "livid" over the seemingly unauthorised use of one his photographs in the leaflet.
Nofolk-based photographer Mike Page claims that an aerial image he took of the Port of Felixstowe for a charity had been used without his knowledge on the material. The port has issued a charity donation to to resolve the issue.
Writing in The Drum today, advertising columnist Jeremy Lee said the leaflets could be "the real clincher" in a sea of thus-far underwhelming referendum campaigns.