Tory election guru’s dirty tricks revealed

Crosby proposed running fake social media campaigns

Campaign group Spinwatch and the Guardian have revealed the lobbying methods proposed by Tory election guru Lynton Crosby.

According to the Guardian, Crosby’s CTF Partners offered to undermine the Qatar 2022 World Cup through lobbying, spreading anti-Qatar media stories and running fake grassroots campaigns on social media.

This proposal document was signed by Crosby himself and sent to a well-funded Qatari dissident called Khalid Al-Hail. Al Hail has previously paid actors to protest against Qatar’s emir.

An Australian nicknamed ‘the Lizard of Oz’, Crosby has helped run the Conservatives last four general election campaigns and the ‘No to AV’ campaign. He was given a knighthood by David Cameron in 2016.

More recently though, his election campaigns have stopped winning. In 2016, he helped Zac Goldsmith run his infamous but unsuccesful Mayoral campaign against Sadiq Khan – which was accused of Islamophobia by top Tory Muslims.

Then, with Crosby again involved, the Tories lost their majority in 2017. Since then, the party has distanced themselves from Crosby, saying they are building up their own in-house campaign team.

Crosby reacted by currying favour with hard-Brexiteer leadership contender Boris Johnson. CTF Partners gave him an interest-free loan in December of £20,000, which has now been paid off. CTF have also donated to David Davis and Ben Bradley.

Crosby’s relationship with Johnson goes far back as Crosby ran Johnson’s succesful 2008 and 2012 campaigns for London Mayor.

According to the Daily Mail, in 2012 Crosby advised Johnson to concentrate on winning the votes of tradtional Tory voters rather than “f*****g Muslims”. Crosby claimed he had no recollection of using that term.

Crosby is credited as the main proponent of the ‘dead cat’ election strategy. When the current top news story is not in your favour, you introduce a distraction, like a dead cat on the table.

For example when Ed Milliband’s popular announcement of a crackdown on non-domicile tax avoidance was dominating news in the 2015 election campaign, Tory Michael Fallon wrote an article accusing Milliband of stabbing his brother in the back. This then became the main story.

As well as election campaigns, Crosby’s CTF Partners is a lobbyist. In 2012, Crosby lobbied on behalf of tobacco companies against plain packaging of cigarettes.

Joe Lo is a reporter for Left Foot Foward

URGENT APPEAL: We need to raise £10,000 in the next few weeks to keep Left Foot Forward going. Help us hold the right to account and back the crowdfunder for a better media here.