Tory candidate in election gaffe

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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

London, UKBritain's Secretary of State for Health, John Reid, is amongst those calling for the withdrawal of Conservative candidate for Dorset South, Ed Matts, after he doctored photos in campaign literature.

The photo in question originally showed Matts and the Conservative front-bencher Anne Widdecombe campaigning on behalf of an immigrant family living in Weymouth, in the Dorset South constituency, in March last year.

When the photo appeared in Matts' campaign literature, the people in the background were removed from the photo and a slogan calling for the family to be allowed to stay was replaced by one calling for immigration control.

The seat, taken by Labour's Jim Knight in the 2001 general election, is one of the most fiercely contested in the country, being Labour's smallest majority.

Conservative leader Michael Howard condemned Matts' behaviour but refused to sack him. Conservative shadow Chancellor Oliver Letwin, from neighbouring Dorset West, said that the message on the doctored photo was consistent with conservative policy.

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