Labour is considering making a formal complaint after Conservative researchers posed as students to secretly record comments by the party’s policy chief Jon Cruddas.
In a foretaste of what both parties expect to be one of the “dirtiest” election campaigns in recent years the Tory press office passed a tape of the conversation to The Daily Telegraph and the BBC. Mr Cruddas was approached in the foyer of the Fabian’s summer conference and did not know who he was talking to. A note from the Conservatives accompanying the transcript made clear that the recording had been made by researchers posing as students.
The Telegraph reported the story on its front page under the headline: “Labour is divided, warns policy chief.”
If the paper knew that the recording was obtained using subterfuge it could be in breach of Press Complaints Commission rules. Labour is understood to be considering a formal complaint.
Dame Margaret Beckett, a former deputy Labour leader, said: “This is certainly a thoroughly nasty, deceitful trick and it may actually be illegal.”