Truro and Falmouth MP Sarah Newton has submitted a formal complaint to the campaign group Coalition for Marriage over leaflets distributed in her constituency.
The leaflets, delivered to homes across Truro and Falmouth and handed out to shoppers in central Truro, urged members of the public to campaign against proposals to allow same sex couples to take part in civil marriage ceremonies. The leaflets featured a prominent photo of Mrs Newton.
This photo has been used without Mrs Newton’s permission, and she said, gives the false impression that she is connected with the campaign.
A number of Truro and Falmouth residents who received a leaflet have now contacted Mrs Newton to express their concern at the leaflet’s implication that she supports the campaign against civil marriage, and endorsed "offensive claims" made in the leaflet.
Mrs Newton said: ‘‘I would like to clarify that I do not endorse the leaflets recently distributed across Truro and Falmouth and confirm that I am in no way connected to the Coalition for Marriage campaign group.
‘‘I am appalled that the Coalition for Marriage have chosen to use a photo of me without permission, apparently to give residents the impression that I support the claims made within their leaflet. I am further concerned that, despite a request to desist submitted by my office, the group are continuing to distribute these leaflets.
‘‘Whilst I respect the right of individuals and groups to oppose equal marriage proposals, I condemn the language the Coalition for Marriage have used in their publication. This language falls short of the standards of respect and tolerance that all members of the community are entitled to, and has caused offence to a considerable number of my constituents.
"I am committed to listening closely to the views of all my constituents on this issue, and look forward to hearing more from local people about the proposals on the public meetings the Bishop of Truro and I are holding on the January 18. These meetings will be conducted in a spirit of honesty, respect and tolerance for the views of others, an approach that sadly seems to have been rejected in this instance by the Coalition for Marriage."
For more information about the public meetings on January 18 visit www.sarahnewton.org.uk or call Sarah’s office on 01872 274 760.