Labour placed a draft poster on its website that depicted Michael Howard, the Conservative leader, and Oliver Letwin, the shadow chancellor (both of whom are Jewish), as flying pigs. Another showed Howard in a pose that drew comparisons with Fagin and Shylock. They were among five ads Labour supporters were invited to choose general election posters from.
Although Labour insisted the two ads were "anti-Tory, not anti-Semitic", it withdrew them from its website after some Jewish people objected. A Labour source said: "These disputes are inevitable and no-one is blaming TBWA. We will learn lessons and there will be stronger political control and supervision of what the agency does in future."
Labour said the most popular ad showed Howard and Letwin in front of a blackboard with "2+2=5" written in chalk, and the copy: "The Tory sums don't add up." TBWA has now produced four new ads attacking Howard's record as a minister on which supporters will also vote.
A Tory spokesman said: "This poster campaign, which was offensive to many people, was a big misjudgment by Labour's campaign team."