Tory leadership hopeful Penny Mordaunt has suffered an early blow after it was noticed her campaign launch video featured convicted murderer Oscar Pistorius.
Now she has had a further knock after Team GB Paralympian Jonnie Peacock – who also featured in the video – asked to be removed.
Peacock tweeted: ‘I officially request to be removed from this video…. Anything but blue please.’
The international trade minister this morning ended months of speculation about her political ambitions when she formally declared her candidacy to replace Boris Johnson as Conservative leader.
But her entry into the race to become Prime Minister risked being overshadowed by the choice of footage included in the three-minute video unveiling her ‘PM 4 PM’ campaign.
Included in the video were scenes of British sporting success; such as England cricketer Jonny Bairstow celebrating a century, and the moment the Welsh football team qualified for this year’s World Cup.
The footage also featured British paralympian Jonnie Peacock winning gold at London 2012.
And it was this clip that included scenes of a grinning Pistorius – filmed two years before he was convicted for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
The South African’s verdict of manslaughter was later upgraded to murder and he was sentenced to 13 years in jail.
Penny Mordaunt ended months of speculation about her political ambitions when she formally declared her candidacy to replace Boris Johnson as Conservative leader
But her entry into the race to become Prime Minister risked being overshadowed by the inclusion of footage of Oscar Pistorius in her campaign video
The South African was convicted of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in a trial that garnered worldwide media coverage
Pistorius shot Ms Steenkamp four times, although he claimed he had mistaken her for a possible intruder at his Pretoria home.
His trial garnered widespread media attention across the world.
Ms Mordaunt’s campaign video featured no footage of herself but, in a voiceover at the end, she said: ‘Our leadership has to change. It needs to become a little less about the leader and a lot more about the ship.’
Social media users noted how the footage of Pistorius seemed ‘a bit off-brand’.
Julian Druker, a correspondent for 5 News, posted on Twitter: ‘Penny Mordaunt’s campaign video features Jo Cox, Captain Tom and um, Oscar Pistorius but scarcely any Penny Mordaunt.’
Dan Crawford, a Labour councillor in Ealing, tweeted: ‘Bold to feature Oscar Pistorius in the video that launches your leadership campaign, Penny.
‘Very Conservative Party, 2022. That’s not the only problem, of course, but it is hilarious.’
Another user added: ‘I don’t know how it isn’t a sketch or parody.
‘Is anyone going to comment how there’s not even a single millisecond of footage of the actual candidate? But there is of… Oscar Pistorius? You couldn’t make it up.’
And one asked Ms Mordaunt: ‘Why is Oscar Pistorius in your video? You’re supposed to be convincing women you care about them, remember!’
Dan Crawford, a Labour councillor in Ealing, was among those to spot the appearance of Pistorius in Ms Mordaunt’s video
Others such as Julian Druker, a correspondent for 5 News, noticed how the video barely featured Ms Mordaunt herself
Ahead of the official launch of her bid to become PM, the Royal Navy reservist blasted critics trying to depict her as ‘woke’ amid a row over her stance on trans rights.
Her position as one of the bookies’ favourites to become the next Tory leader has led to a furious row over her stance on trans issues, including her past claim that ‘trans women are women’.
She has been accused of being ‘a committed warrior for the trans lobby’ and of risking ‘enormous harm to women’s rights and children’.
But Ms Mordaunt, a Royal Navy reservist, used a series of Twitter posts in the early hours of this morning to push back at opponents.
As well as highlighting her past work in Government, including when she was women and equalities minister under Theresa May, Ms Mordaunt also stressed there was a difference between ‘biological women’ and those who are ‘legally female’.
She added: ‘Some want to damage my reputation for whatever reason. They want to depict me as “woke”. I was elected by the no-nonsense, down-to-earth people of Portsmouth North. It was a Labour seat.
‘I’ve increased my vote share at each election. I refer you to their judgment. I’ve fought for women’s rights all my life. I would NEVER do anything to undermine them. I will continue to protect them.
‘And those that purport to be champions of women while misrepresenting and undermining them might like to think again.’