Tory candidate forced to withdraw campaign leaflets following Met police complaint over image

13 June 2024, 12:12 | Updated: 13 June 2024, 12:28

Tory MP candidate forced to withdraw campaign leaflets after posing with police officer
Tory MP candidate forced to withdraw campaign leaflets after posing with police officer. Picture: Conservatives / Hannah Gray / Jaynered Creative Design Limited

By Danielle de Wolfe

A Tory candidate has been forced to withdraw campaign leaflets that had already been distributed to the public after police complained about an image featuring a serving officer.

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Hannah Gray, the Conservative candidate for Beckenham and Penge in south-east London, released the leaflets to local homes across Bromley.

They featured an image of the former councillor shaking hands with police Superintendent Luke Baldock, a serving member of the Metropolitan Police.

The Met have now lodged a complaint, noting the campaign imagery was used without their prior knowledge and contravenes electoral rules.

It's believed the leaflets were posted to at least several hundred people in the Bromley area before being pulled by the London candidate.

Hannah Gray, the Conservative candidate for Beckenham and Penge in south-east London, released the leaflets last week.
Hannah Gray, the Conservative candidate for Beckenham and Penge in south-east London, released the leaflets last week. Picture: X

The force said electoral rules had been breached after the image used suggested the high ranking officer was backing the Conservative candidate at the general election.

The leaflet design has now been replaced, instead featuring an image of Gray smiling at the camera while wearing a black biker jacket.

The force has now clarified that the photo was taken before the election, during a period in which Ms Gray’s worked as a Bromley councillor.

A Met spokesman said: “The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is aware of a leaflet being circulated by a candidate which included a picture of a MPS officer.

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The leaflet design has now been replaced, instead featuring an image of Gray smiling at the camera while wearing a printed shirt.
The leaflet design has now been replaced, instead featuring an image of Gray smiling at the camera while wearing a printed shirt. Picture: Facebook / Hannah Gray

“The MPS has requested the candidate to withdraw the leaflet from circulation," they continued.

“The MPS is impartial and does not endorse any candidate. It does not control how images of officers are used in campaign literature.”

The recently created Beckenham and Penge seat came about as a result of a boundary review.

It is currently a prime marginal constituency.

The previous seat of Beckenham has been held by former Tory MP Bob Stewart since 2010.

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