'Labour For Largan': Tory Candidate Sparks Confusion With Campaign Ads For Rival Parties

PM Rishi Sunak with Robert Largan in January.
PM Rishi Sunak with Robert Largan in January. Pool via Getty Images

Social media posts from a Conservative candidate have sparked bewilderment online, as the politician appears to be standing for his rival parties.

Robert Largan, elected as a Tory MP in 2019 with a slim majority of just 590, is campaigning to keep hold of his seat of High Peak in Derbyshire.

He posted a photo of himself against a red backdrop – associated with Labour – on Saturday, along with the slogan: “Labour for Largan.”

The caption read: “So many local Labour voters have told me they’re going to vote for me because they want to keep me as their local MP.

“There have been so many that I’m launching a new Labour for Largan club.”

At the bottom of the graphic, the small print states that it was actually promoted by the Conservative Party.

The community notes on X (formerly Twitter) attached by the platform’s other users clarify Largan is still standing for the Conservative Party and was last elected as a Tory MP.

The post generated significant interest on social media. It had been viewed 1.5 million times in less than 48 hours and had more than 2,500 comments attached – most of which were negative.

Derbyshire Police said on Saturday evening: “We wish to confirm that we have received a number of messages in relation to claims of election fraud, raised due to concerns around marketing material.

“An incident has been created and will be reviewed.”

According to the BBC, Largan – who has served as assistant government whip since October 2022 – has not been contacted by police.

He put out a similar post using the colours of the Reform UK Party along with the slogan: “Reform for Robert.”

Amid the significant backlash, the Conservative Party defended its candidate and said: “The materials clearly carry imprints, as required by electoral law.”

A spokesperson for the candidate said it was “abundantly clear” on his social media and website what party Largan was part of.

They said Reform supporters and Labour supporters alike had contacted him saying they would be voting for him.

Largan’s bio on his X account reads: “Vote Local. Vote Largan.”

On his website, robertlargan.co.uk, the word “Conservatives” does feature in the top banner along with the party’s logo, although the site is green rather than the traditional blue used by most the Tories.

Largan made headlines in September for distributing Conservative marketing material which tried to mimic a local newspaper called the High Peak Reporter.

Following accusations of misleading voters, he apologised and said it was made a genuine mistake.

Only last month, Conservative candidates in the local elections were accused of playing down their links to the government in their campaign materials.