Culture of dishonesty

5 May 2016, Blog

Peter Oborne reminded us this week that removing the ‘nasty party’ label from the Conservative image is what David Cameron promised to do when he became leader a decade ago. Oborne’s verdict is that “it is now abundantly clear that he has failed in this objective”.

It comes after weeks of smears directed at Sadiq Khan from his Tory opponent Zac Goldsmith. Many have accused Mr Goldsmith of levelling personal attacks on Mr Khan connected to his Muslim faith. The “dog whistle” tactics hit a new level when the Tory candidate penned an article linking Sadiq Khan to the 7/7 bombings, provoking the Mail’s Oborne to hit back at the “culture of dishonesty that’s eating away the soul of the Tory party”. He added that “Sadiq Khan is as mainstream as they come”, comments echoed by former Tory chair Sayeeda Warsi who said it is “not the Zac Goldsmith I know”.

Goldsmith’s campaign responded by claiming it was not their decision, but that of the Mail on Sunday, to publish his article accompanied by a picture of an exploded bus from the 7/7 London terror attacks. Mr Goldsmith hired Mark Fullbrook to run his campaign, the campaign manager behind Boris Johnson’s 2012 victory, and a key member of Lynton Crosby’s team which oversaw the Tory general election victory last year. Many are now asking how much involvement Lynton Crosby has had in the Goldsmith campaign. 

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