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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