Please stop calling us the Tories, say the Tories

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Indy Politics

The Conservative Party was accused of having an identity crisis after it appealed to broadcasters not to describe it as "Tory" during the election campaign.

Michael Salter, the party's head of broadcasting, sent an e-mail to television channels yesterday urging their reporters to use the word "Conservative". He wrote: "In the run-up to the election is there any way people could call us Conservatives rather than Tories? It will be Conservative candidates people are voting for and they will be Conservative policies rather than Tory. I knowboth terms will always be used but it would be nice if in reports people could remember to call us Conservative(s)!"

Tory officials denied that the request was prompted by voters regarding the word "Tory" as harsh, uncaring and a reminder of the Thatcher era while viewing "Conservative" as softer and more friendly. Instead, they stressed they wanted to remind people of the party's official name before polling day.

Mr Salter said: "We don't mind people using the term 'Tory'. But we would like the first reference to be 'Conservative'." The party has toyed with the idea of changing its name but has put off a decision on a major rebranding exercise until after the election.

Labour could not resist pointing out that the word "Tory", which dates from the 17th century, comes from an Irish word toraidhe, meaning outlaw or robber.