A Conservative post-election campaign leaflet was branded “frankly embarrassing” for failing to mention the party or former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who previously held the seat.
Instead, the Uxbridge and South Ruislip vote leaflet made loud claims about Tory candidate Steve Tuckwell’s anti-ultra-low-emissions zone policy while attacking his Labor colleague Danny Beales for his apparent support for its controversial extension.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan plans to drastically expand the London Zone – which charges a fee for certain vehicles to enter – to improve air quality.
Despite the attack, the leaflet made no mention of Rishi Sunak’s party or the disgraced former constituency MP.
One of the flyers that was recently distributed in the area was given to The Independent by a local resident.
They said: “It’s as if they are ashamed of their party, of Boris, of everything.”
A Labor source said: “The lack of a Tory logo on the leaflets is not fooling people.”
“He [Mr Tuckwell] represents the same conservative mess that crashed the economy and left everyone with less money in their pockets,” they added.
A Liberal Democrat source called the leaflet “frankly embarrassing” and said the Tories were “so mired in depravity and scandal that they talk their way out of their own leaflets”.
Rebecca Jane, UKIP Deputy Chair and candidate in the forthcoming poll, was equally scathing.
she said The Independent: “In my opinion, Steve knows that his leadership in this country has failed.”
“So he ignored it and continued to push the charges against ULEZ.”
She added: “I think the Conservative leadership is toxic and corrupt and needs to be removed from power.”
“However, I really want it to be known – manpower is NOT the solution.”
Meanwhile, political scientist Tim Bale said that while the move did not violate voting rights, “one could argue that it is a lack of honesty with those you’re hoping to persuade to vote for you.”
“If the brand of your party – and, in [Mr] Since the Tuckwell case, your predecessor’s brand, has become seriously toxic, it’s understandable that you’d want to minimize your association with it.
“However, whether such a ridiculously disingenuous strategy will pay off in the end is certainly doubtful.
“Voters are not stupid – even if you treat them that way.”
The by-election was triggered last month when Mr Johnson spectacularly quit the House of Commons ahead of a damning inquiry into Downing Street’s lockdown-breaking parties. That investigation eventually revealed that Mr Johnson had lied to Parliament about compliance with the Rules at No 10.
Had he remained an MP, he would have been recommended a 90-day suspension.
And although the Tories have retained the seat since 2015, many pollsters believe Sir Keir Starmer’s party will emerge victorious in the poll later this month.
UK survey report Labor is on track to overthrow the Tories’ 7,000 majority by taking 53.4% of the vote.
Mr. Tuckwell was contacted for comment.