James Purnell's office was told that the Culture Secretary picture had been superimposed on to a photograph taken at an event he had in fact missed two days before it was released to the press, his department has admitted. When the alteration was revealed last month he denied knowing that the picture, taken at Tameside General Hospital in Greater Manchester, had been doctored.
His spokeswoman admitted yesterday that the hospital had emailed the photo to his constituency office with a note stating he had been "dropped in".
Mr Purnell, MP for Stalybridge and Hyde, denied having seen either the email or photo before its release and said he would not have approved it. "I did not ask for my photograph to be used in this way, nor did I authorise it," he said.