Labour to protest in vain about Tory advertising

LONDON - The Labour Party is to make a formal protest about three Tory general election ads that have been criticised as misleading by independent public bodies.

But the Advertising Standards Authority is certain to dismiss the complaint because political advertising is no longer covered by the industry's code of practice. Labour's move will be the first serious test of the decision to drop political ads from the code in 1999.

The Tories have been attacked over three ads in regional newspapers: by health authorities on MRSA hospital superbug figures; by some chief constables about crime statistics and by some local authorities over the cost of asylum-seekers.

A Labour source said: "These misleading ads raise a serious point about how ads are regulated.There seems to
be a black hole in the system."

The ASA, which has received almost 40 complaints about political ads this year, warned the parties it would not pursue any such protests.

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