Members of a neighbourhood forum have complained to two politicians after election flyers inferred the group was supporting the Conservatives.
The Northgate Matters community forum, which has no political leanings, contacted Henry Smith and Tina Belben after campaigning leaflets emblazoned with the group’s name were put through doors throughout the neighbourhood.
It’s so utterly deliberate using us and giving people the impression we support himQueenie Hopcroft
John and Queenie Hopcroft, of Hollybush Road, said they were outraged when they read the flyer – which they originally assumed was from the forum.
John said: “I think it’s a lousy way of going about getting your material read. He’s used Northgate Matters as a cover and pushed something out and people will think it was issued by the group.”
Queenie added: “I was outraged. Northgate Matters is not in any way party political.
“This could have put a lot of people against us and accusing us of supporting political views.”
Forum chairman Pat Teague received emails and phone calls from people concerned about the leaflet.
She sent a message to everyone on the group’s mailing list informing them she had written to both candidates expressing her disappointment at the “misrepresentation”.
She added: “I just wanted to let you all know that the current literature delivered in Northgate over the past week from the Conservatives and headed ‘Northgate Matters’ has nothing to do with us at all and I would like to apologise to everyone who initially thought that this was from us.
“Northgate Matters is not political and we have no connection to the Conservative Party, nor any other, and as such I believe that it is wrong that their literature appeared to infer that we were supporting or promoting them by using ‘Northgate Matters’ as their heading.”
Henry, the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Crawley, defended the wording of the leaflet.
He said: “The word ‘matters’ is widely used by many people and indeed is common to all Conservative newsletters across Crawley – and beyond – such as ‘Ifield Matters’, ‘Maidenbower Matters’ and so on.
“Reading the content it is very clear that this is a election newsletter and indeed features a party logo and the correct legal imprint declaration too.”
The explanation did not go down well with Queenie, who added: “It’s so utterly deliberate using us and giving people the impression we support him.
Referring to a recent residents’ meeting at which all Parliamentary Candidates had spoken, she added: “He had just spoken at a Northgate Matters meeting so it’s not as if he didn’t know what’s what we were called.”