The Liberal Democrats have been accused of peddling misinformation as the general election campaign heats up after being found to have dressed up campaign material as fake newspapers in target constituencies.
Voters have been presented with seemingly legitimate local newspapers stuffed through their letterboxes with titles such as Wantage Constituency Observer and Sheffield Hallam News, merely disguised campaign literature.
The party is alleged to have printed Trojan Horse material in over a dozen seats to promote local candidates, with only a small line of text confirming to the attentive that what they are reading is not as it seems.
Such underhand tactics have sparked a reprimand from Toby Granville, editorial director at Newsquest after a fake title called the ‘Gazette’ began circulating alongside the genuine ‘Basingstoke Gazette’.
In a curt rebuke, Granville told the party: “If this isn’t pulled I’ll advise all Newsquest editors not to publish any campaign news for your party.”
The Lib Dems have pledged to work with Granville to resolve the issue but remain unrepentant at the use of such tactics despite recent concerns around the rise of fake news, pointing out that tabloid-style newspapers have been deployed by political parties of all stripes for decades.