Nick Timothy: Theresa May’s former chief of staff attacks election guru Lynton Crosby over failure to win majority

Mr Timothy reveals that Mr Crosby still thought the Tories would 'do well' on the eve of the vote

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Indy Politics

Theresa May’s former chief of staff Nick Timothy has lashed out at political strategist Lynton Crosby over the Conservatives’ failure to win a majority at the election.

Mr Timothy blamed the Australian election guru for pushing the Prime Minister to follow the wrong strategy and mocked him for predicting on the eve of the election that the Tories would “do well”.

It comes after Mr Timothy and Ms May’s other all-powerful aide Fiona Hill lost their jobs in the wake of the botched election that saw the Conservatives squander a working majority in the Commons.

Since the result came out, reports of a major split between the two aides and Mr Crosby have emerged, with the political strategist understood to have blamed the manifesto Mr Timothy helped pen – and in particular the social care fiasco – for the stuttering campaign.

Mr Timothy wrote in an article for The Spectator that the campaign should have been run on different lines, but that “campaign consultants” prevented it.

He wrote: “Because this election failed to produce the majority we needed, it is impossible to call the campaign anything but a failure.

“Before it began, we envisaged a return to traditional campaigning methods, with daily press conferences to scrutinise Labour and promote our policies. Theresa, never comfortable hogging the limelight, expected to make more use of her ministerial team.

“On the advice of the campaign consultants, and following opinion research that showed Theresa to be far more popular than the party or her colleagues, we eschewed our instincts. We were wrong to do so.”

In a direct swipe at Mr Crosby, hailed as the Wizard of Oz after he helped David Cameron win a majority in 2015, Mr Timothy revealed a message the strategist sent him on the eve of polling.

The aide opened his article writing: “Nobody inside CCHQ [Coservative Campaign Headquarters] was prepared for election night’s 10pm exit poll.

“Lynton Crosby’s last text to me predicted that we were going to ‘do well’, which according to our expectations would mean a Conservative majority of more than 60.”

As the final election result was emerging on Friday morning, ex-Chancellor George Osborne slammed the Conservative manifesto as ‘the worst in history’ – a claim Mr Timothy also hit back at.

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He argued the document had been honest with voters, particularly on social care, and the suggestion it should not have been was tantamount to saying politicians should mislead the public.

He wrote: “The manifesto was later written off as ‘the worst in history’. One of the criticisms is that, instead of offering voters giveaways and bribes, we spelt out where cuts would fall.

“While I accept that the manifesto might have been too ambitious, I worry that the implication of this argument is that politicians should not be straight with the electorate.”