Blair plays a demon role in new Tory ad

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The Independent Online
The Conservative Party last night produced its most aggressive piece of pre-election press and poster advertising yet, directly targeting Tony Blair, the Labour leader, writes Stephen Castle.

The advertisement (pictured right), which featured in three of today's newspapers, shows Mr Blair with a pair of demonic eyes, taken from an earlier Tory poster which is now on hoardings all over the country.

The campaign, commissioned by the Conservative chairman, Brian Mawhinnney, will heighten claims that the Tories are indulging in American-style negative campaigning. The Labour Party recently hit back with a campaign combating what it sees as distortion and urging the public to "read between the lies".

The Tories' latest advertising push aims to capitalise on the row over Clare Short's article in the New Statesman last week. The "New Labour New Danger" slogan is used above a caption which reads: "One of Labour's leaders, Clare Short, says dark forces behind Tony Blair manipulate policy in a sinister way."

Then the caption adds, quoting from Ms Short's article: "I sometimes call them the people who live in the dark." The poster adds a quote attributed to Ms Short on New Labour: "It's a lie. And it's dangerous."

That quotation, which is taken out of context, will particularly anger Labour officials.