Short was right on influence of spin, says former adviser

One of the Prime Minister's former media advisers has said Clare Short was right to say spin dominated Labour's first term.

Tim Allan, who was deputy press secretary to Tony Blair for four years, said "spin doctors became the story" for Labour's first term in power.

Mr Allan said the Government had "made an active effort to mend its ways" but more needed to be done.

In her resignation speech, Ms Short, the former international development secretary, attacked Tony Blair and accused the Government of being obsessed with spin.

Mr Allan, who was deputy press secretary to Mr Blair between 1994 and 1998, said: "Clare Short is right to say that spin came to dominate political debate in the first term. We became the story and spin doctors became the story."

In a lecture to the Labour History Group, Mr Allan, who runs the Portland PR Agency, said that the "lightning" rebuttal tactics Labour learnt in opposition got the Government into trouble. "In opposition we gave pre-briefings of speeches to a selected few in return for decent coverage. In government, this was a disaster," he said.

Podium, page 17

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