Beware putting your family in election leaflets

One detail from Carina Trimingham’s unsuccessful legal action this week (possibly subject to appeal) is about using families in election leaflets:

Mr Justice Tugendhat said in a written judgment: “Ms Trimingham was not the purely private figure she claims to be. Her reasonable expectation of privacy has become limited.

“This is mainly by reason of her involvement with Mr Huhne, both professionally as his press agent and personally as his secret mistress, in circumstances where he campaigned with a leaflet to the electorate of Eastleigh about how much he valued his family.”

Regardless of the law, I’ve always preferred to leave families out of election leaflets – as if a politician uses a family as a reason to vote for them, it is hard then to turn round and say, “leave my family out of the news”.

Of course airbrushing all family references out can go to absurd lengths and particularly in a world of social media it can be extremely artificial to avoid any mention of family members.

But proactively featuring them in a way to win votes is something I’ve always tried to avoid and to persuade others of. There’s all the more reason to take that view after this week’s court ruling.

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