Labour MP’s Ukip-coloured leaflet baffles rivals
A Labour MP whose constituency literature was dominated by Ukip's purple and yellow colours is facing a barrage of questions from local rivals.
Conservative councillor candidate Kishani Devani has said he was "astonished" when he first saw the leaflet by Barry Gardiner, the Labour MP for Brent North.
The literature, which is paid for by the Commons rather than the Labour party, is dominated by the purple and yellow colour scheme of far-right party Ukip.
"Purple and yellow? Surely not?! There was not a sight of the Red Rose? Or Labour Red?" Devani asked.
"As far as we are aware these calendars which are in striking resemblance to colours that are used by another political party have been distributed all over Brent, in the Brent North constituency.
"It is only correct to ask the local MP why he would do such a thing and that is why we have raised this."
Gardiner's leaflet bears the Commons portcullis, suggesting it is paid for out of MPs' communications allowance.
It does not promote the Labour party but Gardiner will hope the leaflet, which doubles as a calendar, will raise awareness of his work helping constituents.
The MP issued a stern denial that he was using Ukip colours, telling getwestlondon.co.uk: "I tend to do it in different colours every year, the point is it is there to look nice."
He said Ukip were not posing a serious challenge to him, making the idea he had deliberately chosen their colours "far-fetched".
"The very fact that the Conservatives have decided that the only thing they can criticise is the colour rather shows the paucity of their policies," Gardiner added.
"I am communicating with my constituents and telling them what I have been doing over the last year. I am providing them with useful information if they have any problems and want to get in touch.
"I am not electioneering. It is nonsense and I treat it with the severity it deserves."
The leaflet notes Gardiner's award as environmental parliamentarian of the year, reports on Gardiner celebrating 65 years of the NHS and criticises the "racist van" prompted by the Home Office.
Devani voiced concerns about the "political" nature of the leaflet, which featured a photograph of Gardiner's 'local action team' campaigning on local issues.
The three pictured are Labour council candidates, he complained, making the literature political.
"It's worrying he would do this," Devani told Politics.co.uk.
"We were completely bemused – it just doesn't add up."