Published: 14:32, 07 October 2019
| Updated: 15:55, 09 October 2019
A Kent newspaper series has been forced to distance itself from a new Conservative Party magazine given a remarkably similar name and distributed to thousands of homes.
Bosses at the Kentish Gazette and Whistable Gazette - both KM Group sister papers of KentOnline - have been left mystified by the decision to name the new political publication the Canterbury and Whitstable Gazette.
It has been posted to 10,000 homes across the constituency in a bid to bolster the General Election hopes of the party's parliamentary candidate, Anna Firth.
The former barrister, who has been helping to deliver the magazine, says there has been no attempt to misrepresent the publication, while admitting she played no part in naming it.
"I was working on content for the magazine in August but wasn't consulted over or involved in what it would be called and didn't see it until I got a proof copy," she said.
"Even then I didn't see a link it to the Kentish Gazette because it's just a little magazine with a different livery and so different in style. I genuinely did not think that people would associate it with the newspaper and it wasn't raised as an issue.
Mrs Firth says constituents on the doorstep have yet to question if the magazine - which promotes her policies and election bid - is linked to the KM Group publications.
"If I had even one person say 'oh, this is a bit off', I would think that maybe it was a mistake," she said.
"It was absolutely not my intention to try and mimic the newspaper or confuse or mislead voters."
Mrs Firth told KentOnline she is unsure who made the final decision on the magazine's name, but the process is understood to have involved election agent Andrew Kennedy.
Numerous calls to Mr Kennedy have gone answered.
KentOnline also called Canterbury Conservative Association chairman Simon Cook - the former leader of Canterbury City Council - for a response.
"No comment at all," he said.
When asked why, he replied: "Because I don't want to comment."
Kentish Gazette editor Joe Walker has been left perplexed by the decision to use the Gazette name.
"We are mystified as to how this was seen as a good idea," he said.
"The Gazette has been published for more than 300 years. Its Canterbury and Whitstable editions are the only local papers serving the area, so we can only speculate why the Conservatives thought this was the best name for their magazine, given the huge number of alternative options available.
"We are strictly apolitical and unimpressed that we have had to take action to publicly reiterate our independence and impartiality."
More by this authorGerry Warren