Brown aide: 'No class war on Tories'

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Gordon Brown's chief adviser has banned the Cabinet from waging a "class war" against David Cameron, it was revealed last night.

Stephen Carter warned that ministers must not launch personal attacks on the Conservatives for fear it could backfire against the Government at the next general election. The order, by the increasingly powerful chief of staff, was issued at a private meeting of special advisers to cabinet ministers and party officials on Friday, at Labour's Victoria Street HQ in London. It will be seen as a veiled warning in particular to Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, who used his autumn conference speech to attack Mr Cameron's Etonian past.

Mr Balls heads a group of ministers and aides who believe that drawing attention to the background of leading Tories should play a central role in an election campaign.

Mr Carter, a former head of Ofcom and an executive at the PR group Brunswick, referred to the Tory leader and shadow Chancellor George Osborne as "Dave and George", saying they were "nice guys" and that personalised campaigns were counter-productive.

A Whitehall source said the suggestion that ministers and officials should back off had "raised eyebrows".