Tory tangle over non-white candidates

The Observer today carries a story about the curious lack of photos of the Conservatives’ black and asian candidates in Barking and Dagenham.

The candidates exist (to the Tories’ credit) and their names and contact numbers are on the leaflets, but the photos are all white.

The Conservatives denied that the move amounted to deliberate “airbrushing” of ethnic minority candidates. They insisted that the lack of photographs of their non-white candidates on all campaign calendars dropped through letter boxes was because their list of candidates had not been completed when the material was published. But they could not explain why the names of the non-white candidates, and their phone numbers, did appear, suggesting they had already been signed up to campaign for seats on Barking and Dagenham council.

Even odder, the Observer tells how an attempted rebuttal of the claims

The Tories said it was “fiction” to suggest that non-white candidates had been left off deliberately and said there was plenty of material showing these candidates. They forwarded different material to the Observer with photographs of the non-white candidates prominently displayed. But it appeared that these images had been superimposed onto the new material so that they were next to their white colleagues. They were not original, group photos.

Perhaps, as much as anything, this reflects the challenges faced by all parties when up against a strong BNP challenge, and how local parties of all political colours don’t do themselves any favours by trying to re-invent the wheel rather than following the national advice.

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