Labour's 'Big Brother' spoof to determine 10 most loathed Tories

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Indy Politics

Ten people, nine months, one house. And a grand prize of £109,030 a year as Leader of the Opposition. Welcome to Big Brother, Westminster style.

Ten people, nine months, one house. And a grand prize of £109,030 a year as Leader of the Opposition. Welcome to Big Brother, Westminster style.

Labour tested the nation's stomach for reality TV to the limit yesterday by launching a website aimed at finding the public's least favourite Tories. Clearly unashamed of its Orwellian reputation, the party's Millbank headquarters posted a spoof version of the Channel 4 programme on the Labour home page, www.labour.org.uk.

Titled "Tory House of Horrors", the game lists "10 prominent Tories who all share a common home but can't stand each other" and allows the public to vote out who they loathe most.

As well as William Hague, those who can be evicted from the virtual equivalent of the Conservative Central Office include Michael Portillo, Ann Widdecombe, Liam Fox and John Redwood. Somewhat bizarrely, former prominent Tories such as Baroness Thatcher and John Major are also listed.

Channel 4's Big Brother, which offers a prize of £70,000 to the last contestant to be voted out by the public, has become a tabloid sensation since it was launched last month. Just like the real thing, Labour's game was panned by critics yesterday as "a pathetic gimmick", although the party said it was already proving popular. Unlike the real thing, there is no evidence any members of the Tory house have stripped naked or made body paintings on the elegant walls of Central Office.

Labour says it was prompted to devise the site after the defection of Ivan Massow last week led other Tories to reconsider their party membership. According to the website, "secret rivalries, cynicism and intolerance are breeding an air of mistrust among the group ... the language used is becoming more extreme and they are increasingly out of touch from reality".

In a less than subtle reference to the Conservative tax guarantee, it adds that the group has decided to "cut the household spending budget - but at what cost and what will people have to go without?"

The House of Horrors site lacks the 24 closed-circuit television cameras used by Channel 4 for round-the-clock surveillance but it does givecharacter summaries. Although Mr Hague "started off being nice, he has ended up just plain nasty", it says, quoting Mr Massow's phrase about the Tory leader in The Independent last week. Mr Portillo, the shadow Chancellor, is described as the "ambitious manoeuvring one who claims to be a friend of William but clearly wants to see him out as quickly as possible".

Miss Widdecombe, the shadow Home Secretary, is "the scary one".

Conservative Central Office was singularly unimpressed by the Labour stunt. A spokesman said: "This is a pathetic gimmick from a Government which has already been exposed for putting spin before substance."

The Liberal Democrats were equally scathing. A spokesman said yesterday: "If anyone's Big Brother in politics today, it's Millbank. It's a bit rich coming from the party that has constructed the worst nanny state this country has seen."

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