The prospective Conservative parliamentary candidate hoping to be the next MP for Camborne, Redruth and Hayle has been criticised by a number of residents in the constituency for failing to mention which party he represents on his latest election leaflet.

Connor Donnithorne is standing as the Tory candidate for the seat, against Labour’s Perran Moon and Lib Dem Thalia Marrington. He is hoping to replace Conservative MP George Eustice who has announced he is retiring.

Election leaflets are starting to arrive through Cornish residents’ front doors at an increasing rate with the likelihood of a general election this year, perhaps as early as May. Mr Donnithorne has distributed a four-page flyer – headed ‘Cornish chip shop owner standing to be local MP’ – to homes across Camborne, Redruth and Hayle.

However, nowhere does it state that he is a Tory – a fact which a number of confused voters have picked up on.

In his introduction the Cornwall Council Cabinet member and portfolio holder for customers wrote: “I’m proud to be Cornish and living just outside Redruth with my young family. We are lucky to call this place homes and it’s where we started our first fish and chip shop.

“I’ll be a local MP who understands the issues you face because we face them too. Times are tough and I’m fighting to get local people a better deal. We’re working to tackle anti-social behaviour and make our towns and villages safer. We’re delivering better healthcare closer to home. We’re investing to clean up our rivers and coastal waters. And we must do more for NHS dentistry in Cornwall.”

Nowhere on the leaflet does it state who “we” are.

Mr Donnithorne continues: “I’ve got the experience to help fix the challenges we face. I’m a Cornwall councillor and as a Cabinet member have been responsible for over £60 million. I’m a small business owner and know what it takes to create well-paid, year-round jobs. And I’ll always stand up for Cornwall so we can build a stronger and fairer Camborne, Redruth and Hayle for One and All.”

It’s fair to say Mr Donnithorne has come in for a bit of stick for not being more transparent about his political affiliations.

Cornish studies commentator and historian Bernard Deacon said on X, formerly Twitter: “The postman delivered a leaflet from a nice young man called Connor Donnithorne who hopes to be Camborne-Redruth’s next MP. Oddly, nowhere does he tell us which party he represents.”

The leaflet states that Mr Donnithorne is the “fresh, local voice we need for Camborne, Redruth and Hayle”.

“Does this mean the current MP George Eustice is by implication a stale local voice? Bit unfair on the now largely invisible and partly-retired poor old George, surely,” added Mr Deacon.

Mr Donnithorne told us: “I’m proud to be standing as the Conservative candidate to be our local MP here in Camborne, Redruth and Hayle. To cut taxes, tackle illegal migration and deliver better healthcare closer to home. I’m doing politics differently. My campaign will be about me as a local candidate focusing to make our communities even better places to live and raise a family. Not Westminster party politics.”

Others commented they had also received the leaflet and wondered which political party Mr Donnithorne represented.

Amanda Uren wrote: “Got a leaflet yesterday. No sign of political affiliation. ‘Proud of Cornwall and being Cornish’. Not proud to be a Conservative though.”

‘KevInCornwall’ tagged Mr Donnithorne in a tweet which said: “Hey, Connor – this glossy, expensively-produced promotional mini-mag appeared through my letterbox, but through some inexplicable error (probably by the publisher) there’s hardly any mention of you being a Tory! What an oversight!!”

Another Twitter user posted: “You’re a Tory, why don’t you have it on your profile or any of the leaflets you’ve been posting? Ashamed? Embarrassed? Or just snide?”

While an account under the name Marine De Brie tweeted a copy of the election leaflet, adding: “Seems to have forgotten which party he is standing for, or knows that the brand is too toxic to mention. More Tory deception.”

On Mr Donnithorne’s councillor Facebook page, Brett Gallaway commented: “I probably speak for quite a few people by requesting you make your political affiliation absolutely clear. There are many who think you’re being somewhat deceitful because you’re not overtly publicising the fact that you’re a Conservative.”

Ali Mikail asked him: “I’ve just read all four sides of your flyer that came in the post and couldn’t see anywhere what party you represent. Who do you represent?”

Mr Donnithorne replied: “I’m the Conservative candidate, Ali. Every piece of literature that’s gone out has that. This one was a very personal and non-political leaflet. But sorry if there was any confusion.”

Mark Ellis responded: “Surprising. It is political in my opinion. Headline is that you are standing to be an MP. What would a ‘political’ leaflet look like? I reckon you think I’m a bit stupid.”

Mr Donnithorne was born and went to school in Cornwall and helped set up Seasmiths Fish and Chips, a multi-award-winning family business. They opened their first shop in Porthtowan in March 2020. Mr Donnithorne and his partner run another Seasmiths restaurant in Wadebridge, which opened in July 2022. He lives in the Camborne, Redruth and Hayle constituency with his young family.

The councillor announced in June he will run for the vacant seat and will undoubtedly be one of the youngest parliamentary candidates in the country. George Eustice, who will stand down at the next election, has endorsed Mr Donnithorne’s candidacy and supports his bid to succeed him as the area’s MP.

When asked to comment on the criticism at a lack of political affiliation on his latest leaflet, Mr Donnithorne didn’t broach the subject but said: “I am standing to be the local MP because we need a fresh voice that will do politics differently. I am 27 and run my own fish and chip shop, we need more small business owners like me in Parliament, standing up for our communities and ensuring there are better-paid jobs for local people.

“I am proud to be the Conservative parliamentary candidate for the place that I call home and where I am raising my young family. My campaign is to help local people secure better-paid jobs, better healthcare closer to home, fix NHS dentistry, and tackle antisocial behaviour in our communities.

“As the local MP for Camborne, Redruth and Hayle, I will always put our community before Westminster party politics. I will continue to be out on the doorsteps every day between now and the election, speaking to local people and helping to address their concerns as I want to make Cornwall an even better place to live, work and raise a family.”