Lynton Crosby paid £4m for making Theresa May ‘look stupid’
So much for Tory economic competence...
A few days after the 2017 general election, The Sunday Times revealed how Theresa May really felt about the campaign she had just run.
The paper’s political editor Tim Shipman said that May had complained privately: “I look stupid.”
A source told him: “We ran a campaign against our instincts and when we said ‘strong and stable’ had become a joke we were told, ‘No changes.’”
Now it has emerged that the Tories paid at least £4 million to the strategists directing the campaign, Sir Lynton Crosby's firm CTF Partners.
Much of this money is believed to have been spent on polling, focus groups and call centres that had to be set up at short notice.
A senior Conservative source told The Sun: “It was easily £4 million and when the final invoices are totted up it could be much more.”
The revelation will be especially uncomfortable for allies of the prime minister, such as Nick Timothy, who belive that Crosby's advice lost them the election.
In particular, opponents of Crosby claim he messed up by compelling May to run a negative campaign that forced her to parrot a series of sterile lines.
But allies of the ‘Wizard of Oz’ reject this argument, saying it is not Crosby’s fault that the prime minister worked in her talking points so robotically.
Crosby is also said to have been angry with May’s aides for failing to grant him sufficient control over the campaign – and in particular over the Tory manifesto.
“Lynton is fuming with them,” one campaign source said. “He is concerned his reputation will be trashed when he did not have control.”