Chorley politician red-faced after election gaffe

A Chorley politician was left embarrassed when thousands of election campaign leaflets littered with gaffes were issued to voters.

Around 3,000 leaflets were handed out to people in Chorley town centre last week as Alan Cullens officially launched his candidacy for the Parliamentary election on May 6.

However, an error with the printing resulted in the well-known Tory councillor's name being spelled incorrectly, plus several other mistakes.

An 'S' was left off his name resulting in him being called 'Alan Cullen' instead of 'Alan Cullens'. And throughout the leaflet he is referred to only as 'forename' as his name has not been input into the nationally-produced template.

The gaffes infuriated the politician and he ordered that the leaflet be scrapped – but not before many copies were released to the public.

Now Coun Cullens, who currently represents Clayton-le-Woods North at Chorley Council, says the problem has been rectified and he has assured party members that they would not be footing the bill for the mistake.

He said: "I can't say I was very pleased when I saw the mistakes but it is one of those things.

"The leaflet was organised centrally by the Conservative Party and we have a number of fields to fill in. However, some of the fields can't be proofed before printing and that's how the mistake happened.

"The important thing is that the message was right, even if the spelling was wrong."

The leaflet was created by the Conservative Party Central Office and is used by candidates up and down the country. Each candidate fills in information to personalise the template – but there have been problems checking the details for accuracy before printing.

Now 35,000 new leaflets have been printed with the correct information and more are expected to be printed soon.

Nick Hogan, who is running as the UKIP candidate in the elections, said: "It doesn't surprise me one bit. It just shows how out of touch the Conservatives are in Chorley."

Liberal Democrat candidate Stephen Fenn was more forgiving saying: "I've made the odd mistake or two in my time - but I've never got my name wrong.

"It's always best to get a third party to proofread your information first, but I suppose it's not always possible."

Prospective independent candidate Chris Curtis said: "It could happen to any of us. Maybe it should have been proofed beforehand but I suppose it's not always possible."

Labour candidate Lindsay Hoyle declined to comment about the gaffe.