WELSH SECRETARY Peter Hain has been forced to issue an apology to chart-topping Katherine Jenkins after her photograph appeared on his campaign literature without permission.
The agent for the Neath-born singer said she was "absolutely furious" that a photograph of herself and Mr Hain, taken at an event in the constituency, had appeared on the election leaflet.
The photo implies the 24-year-old's support for the party and Mr Hain, who is Labour's candidate in Neath. But agent Brian Lane insisted she had "no political leanings whatsoever".
The million-pound recording artist, currently in America, saw the leaflet when her mother Susan flew out to New York for a visit.
It appears on a local election leaflet which promises Mr Hain would be a "strong voice for Neath and the Swansea Valley and a strong voice for Wales in Westminster".
The other side pictures Tony Blair and includes a message from the Prime Minister about Labour's policies on crime.
Mr Lane said, "Katherine is absolutely furious. A photograph was taken of them together recently at an event but no permission has been sought or given for this picture to be used politi-cally.
"Katherine has no political leanings whatsoever. People have been coming up to Susan in the street and saying, 'We didn't know your Katherine was a Labour supporter.'
"I have spoken to Peter Hain's agent who says he is anxious to get hold of Katherine to explain but she is not interested in an explanation. What she wants is an apology."
He added, "This has really upset Katherine's mam, who is anything but a Labour supporter. It has horrified her. This is a little bit tawdry.
"One is supposed to ask permission when using photos in an election leaflet."
Coming on the eve of polling day, the story will prove hugely embarrassing for Mr Hain who is today touring key marginals to warn voters not to let the Tories into Downing Street by the back door.
Labour was offering no explanation as to why the photo appeared but Mr Hain did offer an apology.
He said, "It was taken at a local event, she is from Neath and we are all very proud of her.
"I am sorry that this has become an issue."
A year ago, Katherine signed the biggest debut recording deal for a classical artist in the UK, worth £1m, with Universal Classics.
Since then she has released two albums, Premiere and Second Nature, which have both topped the classical album charts.
She is the official mascot for Welsh rugby and has performed the National Anthem at the Millennium Stadium before the nation's biggest matches.
Among her other major appearances was opening the stadium's Tsunami Relief Concert in January and performing for the Pope.
The mezzo soprano will return soon from America to headline the Victory in Europe celebrations in London.
She will return to the States in the summer for a series of shows in Las Vegas, making her the first British classical artist to have her own headline show in the city.