Reckless criticised by Medway NHS for Ukip election leaflet

News & Analysis

10th November 2014

Mark Reckless is in trouble for reckless campaigning. One of his promotional leaflets (pdf), noting his plans for the NHS in Rochester and Strood, features a photo of Reckless alongside the Medway NHS Trust chief executive Phillip Barnes.

Unsurprisingly, the local NHS chiefs aren’t happy about this. By using a photo of Barnes and Reckless, taken when he was the Conservative MP for Rochester, on a campaign leaflet the Medway NHS trust believes it may be taken as ‘inferring that both Dr Barnes and the hospital were supporting Mr Reckless’ campaign.’

Shena Winning, chair of the Medway Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, has written to Reckless over the weekend, asking him to to withdraw the leaflet and offer a public retraction for using the picture out of context:

‘The Board of Directors at Medway Hospital NHS Foundation Trust were extremely concerned, and surprised, to see a picture of our acting Chief Executive Dr Phillip Barnes and your candidate being used in the editorial, inferring that both Dr Barnes and the hospital were supporting Mr Reckless’ campaign.’

Such gaffes from Reckless are providing election fodder for the Tories, who’ve enjoyed overtly attacking his flip-flopping — most recently on his change of mind over the Lodge Hill housing development. These embarrassing leaflets provide ammunition for their campaign motto, featured in the video above: don’t be Reckless with your vote.