A United States congressional candidate has used a picture of a British seaside village to show what could happen if voters do not back President Trump.
An advert used an image of Jaywick Sands, near Clacton in Essex, to attack Dr Nick Stella’s Democrat opponent.
The campaign picture, which showed an unpaved road and rundown homes, said: “Help President Trump keep America on track and thriving.”
It has received angry criticism from locals and Tendring District Council.
Republican Dr Stella is standing in the 11th Illinois congressional district in the US mid-term elections against Bill Foster.
The advert, which was shared on Dr Stella’s campaign Facebook page, showed a billboard congratulating congress speaker Nancy Pelosi and a message saying: “A vote for Foster is a vote for a speaker Pelosi. We can’t go back to foreclosures, unemployment and economic recession.”
Jaywick was the most deprived neighbourhood in England in 2010 and 2015, according to the government’s deprivation index.
Since then Essex County Council has completed a £6.5m programme to improve the roads and drainage.
Paul Honeywood, Tendring District Council Cabinet Member with special responsibility for Jaywick, said it was appalling to use the old image for political gain and said the village was on the up.
He said: “I know that many Jaywick Sands residents will be outraged at being smeared in this way and rightly so.”
Penelope Read, who filmed a documentary called Jaywick: A Diamond in the Rough in 2016, said she was angry at the use of Jaywick and said she would happily show Dr Stella the real Jaywick if he visited.
She said: “In the last couple of years since we did the documentary the council has tried really hard to improve things. Jaywick is starting to really go forward and it makes me really cross when it gets this bad publicity.
“Of course there are things that are wrong currently but they are being improved.”
Dr Stella’s campaign director of operations Raquel Mitchell said it had never been their intent to smear the town, which they did not name.
She said: “We have learned and it is great to know the town pictured has recovered from economic hardship. Let it serve as an an example of how government responding to the needs of the people can overcome hardship. May those days remain well behind us.
“I’m sure Jaywick Sands is charming. Perhaps a future visit would be a great way to exchange ideas between the two areas.”