The Liberal Democrats for Leeds North West have faced criticism for distributing campaign news in the style genuine newspapers.
The Lib Dem newspaper used stereotypical newspaper mastheads and stylising to promote their candidate for Leeds North West, Kamran Hussain, who hopes to take the seat from Labour MP Alex Sobel.
Alex Sobel said on Twitter: “No other party here would trick voters like this.”
The National Union of Journalists referred to this practice as a “cause for concern” and an academic has branded this “pure promotion” designed to appear as news.
“Anyone who reads it for two minutes will obviously know what it is,” a spokesman for the Liberal Democrats said.
“The newspaper is factually correct and we stand by the content of the newspaper.”
A journalism lecturer from Leeds Beckett University, Chris Pomery, said: “They want to appear as ‘news’, and steal those values. It’s pure promotion.”
A woman who used to volunteer for the Liberal Democrats, who did not wish to be identified, said: “They did stuff like this all the time.
“It’s similar to what other parties do but it’s not the best. I can see how it’s disingenuous.”
In 2017, the NUJ described political parties hijacking newspaper mastheads and disguising advertising as news as a “cause of concern”.
NUJ national executive committee member for the Yorkshire region, Adam Christie, said: “Those organising political campaigning appear not to have learned lessons from two years ago.”