Pressure piles on Tory spinner Lynton Crosby as awkward tax questions follow negative campaign criticisms

9th April, 2015 4:33 pm

Lynton_Crosby_Political_Strategist

Tory campaign strategist Lynton Crosby has been coming under increasing pressure over recent days from inside the Conservative Party, with many blaming him for the negative approach to the campaign so far. Last month, high ranking Tories privately admitted that the Crosby has “got the whole tone wrong”.

Many on the right suspect that Crosby was the brains behind Michael Fallon’s intervention on Trident today, which has come under fire for both being untrue and an unnecessarily personal attack on Ed Miliband. Former ConservativeHome editor and Times columnist Tim Montgomerie said that Fallon’s article was “embarrassing”:

In The Spectator, Isabel Hardman says that the Trident row could be an example of “dead cat strategy” – apparently a favoured method of Crosby’s for changing the subject away from an issue you struggle with. In this case, the Tories want to move the debate away from Labour’s non-dom proposals.

Labour’s Jon Ashworth said that Fallon’s personal attacks proved that “the Tory campaign is in panic mode”.

Crosby could now be causing further embarrassment for Cameron, as it emerges he is a shareholder in overseas companies based in tax havens such as Malta. Margaret Hodge, the chair of the Public Accounts Select Committee, said that the spin doctor now had questions to answer over his tax affairs:

“Few people in the Conservative party wield as much power as Lynton Crosby. Looking at the sheer complexity of his network of offshore interests, it is difficult to see what purpose these arrangements can possibly serve other than to avoid tax.”

The Evening Standard approached the Conservative Party to ask whether they paid a salary direct to Crosby, or paid a fee for his services to his company, Crosby Textor – a question they have so far refused to answer. A spokesperson for the Tort spinner said that any suggestion he “has attempted to reduce his tax liability in the UK is malicious and libellous”.

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  • Mighty Oaf

    The Tories campaign has been a disaster so far. They don’t have any energy and they don’t put forward any fresh policies.

  • BillFrancisOConnor

    I’m quite shocked at how awful the Tory campaign is. What was Fallon thinking when he said those words this morning? If tax dodging can be pinned on Crosby the whole Tory campaign could blow up.

    • Ian Robathan

      Well Crosby is the factor, he is nasty, vicious and without any morals. If it ll blows up for him then British politics is better off without scum like him involved.

    • RegisteredHere

      The Tories’ whole campaign seems to be based on a belief in their mastery of marketing to sell their ideas to a British electorate too stupid to notice.

      The arrogance of these hard-wired dilettantes is quite staggering, but it’s quite ironic that Labour’s choice of (geeky, awkward, worst-salesman-in-the-world) Miliband may yet better the ‘best’ political marketeers in the business.

      • BillFrancisOConnor

        Yeah but to say that Miliband would stab his country in the back the same way he stabbed his brother in the back is beyond crass, surely?

        • RegisteredHere

          Yes, but I think it smacks of desperation. If what the pundits are saying is true (Tories want to bury the non-dom issue), then today’s fiasco has only kicked the can nearer the election.

          • BillFrancisOConnor

            Incredibly, Cameron has endorsed Fallon’s comments. He could have easily wangled himself out of it by saying something like ‘those aren’t the words I would have used but I agree with the sentiment’ – He’s got a first class honours degree in PPE from Oxford ffs. I don’t know anything about campaign strategy but I know that a relentlessly negative campaign won’t work in an age where social media and fact checker are king. Impossible positivity just unravels, but relentless negativity unravels and then it explodes.

          • RegisteredHere

            Yep, and by the looks of the Tory front pages today it’s going nuclear.

  • BillFrancisOConnor

    Tort spinner? What, a person who spins stories about infractions of civil law to the media? Come on editors please.

  • robertcp

    Crosby was always going to be a risk. British elections are genteel by Australian standards.

    The Tories should tell the voters that the coalition has started to clear up the mess left by Labour, for example, the deficit is lower, unemployment is falling, taxes have been cut for people on average incomes, interest rates are low and the pound is higher. I do not actually agree with this point of view but it is defensible and reasonably positive.

  • Monkey_Bach

    I have never heard a Cabinet Minister speak so viciously about another Member of Parliament as Fallon did about Miliband yesterday. (Obviously parroting verbiage that Crosby had prepared, vetted and probably authored.) It is shocking to have witnessed a British Statesman disgrace himself by such obviously contrived and thuggish behaviour carried out shamelessly in the public arena.

    Awful stuff.

    Eeek.

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