THE editor of the Hereford Times has criticised the Conservative Party after it posted a newspaper-style political leaflet.

The move has been defended by Dan Hurcomb, the chairman of the North Herefordshire Conservatives Association, but the newspaper industry remains opposed to such leaflets.

The four-page A4 publication appears to have been posted through the doors of most homes in Herefordshire ahead of the local elections in May, and highlights what the Tories say is the cost of the existing Herefordshire coalitions between Independents for Herefordshire and the Green Party.


Hereford Times editor John Wilson said: “Publications like this are nothing more than party political propaganda.

“But in deliberately mimicking the look of an independent local newspaper they undermine trust both in politicians and objective journalism. They are deeply damaging and should be banned.”

Mr Hurcomb said the publication was a Conservative campaign headquarters project where the templates on offer were predetermined.

Hereford Times:

He said the publication, called the Herefordshire Champion, "clearly identifies" it is a Conservative Party election material.

"The electorate deserves to know the record of the current Green-Independent coalition and our Conservative candidates will now continue to promote our positive vision for real change via their local leaflets and conversations with residents on the doorstep," he said.

Other parties have been guilty of this practice, and the News Media Association (NMA), which is the voice of national and local news publishers in the UK, has campaigned against political propaganda leaflets designed to look and feel like independent local newspapers.


Former NMA chairman Henry Faure Walker – who is also chief executive of Newsquest Media Group, the publisher of the Hereford Times, said: "Make no mistake, these publications are designed to fool you into thinking you are reading independent journalism.

"In fact, they are the exact opposite – party political propaganda sheets masquerading as real newspapers."

After the Liberal Democrats used this style of leaflet in 2021, he said: "It has been reported that some of the leaflets are not clearly marked as being produced by the Lib Dems.

"We think this cynical attempt to mislead you is wrong. It undermines trust in both politicians and independent local newspapers."