Mansfield Conservative Parliamentary candidate Ben Bradley has denied accusations on social media that his campaign is being influenced by convicted fox hunters.
The candidate is pictured on an anti-fox hunting website http://www.wildlifeguardian.co.uk allegedly handing election leaflets to members of the Grove and Rufford Hunt in a car park.
In March of this year, three members of the Grove and Rufford Hunt were found guilty of illegally hunting a fox with dogs after a three day trial. Huntsman Paul Larby was fined £800, Peter White was fined £550 and whipper-in Jane Wright was fined £180. All three were ordered to pay costs and a victim surcharge, at Mansfield Magistrates Court.
The website claims Paul Larby and Peter White are featured on the photograph they have published.
Ben Bradley said: “ I know members of the Grove and Rufford Hunt - they rang and they said can we help deliver leaflets and I said yes.
“We have had no discussions about the Hunting Act it is the first time I have met most of them and I don’t know who was arrested for what.
“I have no particular view on fox hunting, it is nowhere close to a priority for me on my campaign it is nowhere near the top of my agenda.
“I still don’t know how I will vote, I will make my mind up at the time.
“It is not a case of I want to associate myself with them - anyone can wander into my office and ask to distribute leaflets.
“There was no prior relationship and no discussion taking place.
“Lots of people have walked into my shop and asked can I help.
“I don’t DBS check everyone who walks into my shop and asks if they can help hand out leaflets.
“If someone offered to help hand out leaftlets I would say yes.
“I don’t know how they got these photographs I don’t know if someone is following me around.”