UK honour in store for ‘dirty tactics’ election guru

December 28, 2015 11:35 pm

 

A Whitehall source has revealed Lynton Crosby will receive the gong in the New Year Honours list on Thursday. Photo / File

British Prime Minister David Cameron’s Australian election strategist
Lynton Crosby is in line for a knighthood, sparking a fresh row over
cronyism in the British honours system.
A Whitehall source has revealed the 58-year-old will receive the gong in the New Year Honours list on Thursday.
The
election guru, who has been dubbed the “Wizard of Oz”, also advised the
National Party – coming under fire for his dirty tactics as an adviser
for Don Brash in his unsuccessful attempt to oust Helen Clarke in 2005.
He was also part of the team who advised John Key in his 2008 election
victory, although his involvement then was kept under wraps. Helen Clark
said at the time there were suspicions about the strategists used by
the National Party because it wasn’t honest about them.
Mr Crosby
started working for Mr Cameron in 2013 and is credited with
masterminding the Conservative party’s first outright win for more than
30 years in May. Previously he had helped Boris Johnson become mayor of
London.

Mr Crosby’s supporters say he brought focus and professionalism that had been lacking in the Conservative party machine.
But
he became embroiled in a row over his links to the tobacco industry. He
was forced to deny playing any part in the Government’s decision to
shelve plans for cigarette plain packaging when it emerged his lobbying
consultancy CTF had been working for tobacco manufacturer Philip Morris.
Britain’s Labour Party also highlighted his tax arrangements after he was linked to a network of offshore companies.
Mr Cameron has been accused of using the honours system to reward friends, political allies and donors.
Labour
MP John Mann condemned the award for Mr Crosby, saying it degraded the
honours system and was “an insult to the country’s heroes”.
Alexandra
Runswick, the director of Unlock Democracy, which campaigns for
political reform, said the honours system was supposed to be about
rewarding dedicated public service.
“David Cameron is using it to
reward a lobbyist and political consultant who helped get him elected
demeans the honours system and undermines trust in politics.”
Since
2002 Mr Crosby and his business partner Mark Textor have been advisers
for more than 250 political campaigns in 57 countries.

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