Gavin Robinson pops up in an Alliance poll leaflet
Gavin Robinson's campaign to win back East Belfast from Alliance got a surprise boost yesterday - from his main rivals.
Sitting MP Naomi Long's party boobed after including Mr Robinson in the background of a picture on some of their own election literature.
He appears standing behind Lagan Valley candidate Trevor Lunn on the front of his election leaflet.
Ms Long quipped: "We are happy for Gavin Robinson to be in the background and Alliance are working hard to ensure that's where he stays after May 7."
Mr Lunn added: "I'm not blaming anybody - and Gavin needs all the help he can get,"
The picture was taken at the Alliance Party's candidate launch function in the Park Avenue Hotel in east Belfast two weeks ago, when a number of DUP figures, including Mr Robinson, were attending another event.
Alliance admitted the figure of Mr Robinson could have been airbrushed out.
The former Belfast Lord Mayor, who the Belfast Telegraph's polling partners Lucidtalk have made favourite to retake the seat lost by his namesake although non-relative Peter Robinson in 2010, is looking into a mobile phone in the photograph and wearing glasses.
He could not be contacted yesterday and party sources said he was out canvassing in the constituency.
"I wasn't aware of him in the background although I knew Gavin was in the hotel. These were not posed pictures, it was all very informal," Mr Lunn added.
"Maybe they just thought it was a good photo of me, which can be hard to get.
"I don't believe Gavin would have done this deliberately.
"All our leaflets are proofed. I am not at all embarrassed by it."
While Mr Robinson made no comment, DUP official Allan Ewart pondered on social media whether Mrs Long would be annoyed at what seems to have been a simple blunder.