Spin doctors step in to try to save Tories

 

Despairing conservative-minded public relations executives and lobbyists, worried by what they see as the party losing touch with grassroots supporters and struggling to articulate traditional Tory values, have formed a new group which will give "unofficial" policy advice to the party.

The group, Conservatives In Communications, was launched amid frustration with the party's direction under David Cameron. It will use polling information and business contacts to keep the party in touch with rank-and-file views, in a bid to avoid further embarrassing policy U-turns such as the retreat on NHS reforms.

Peter Bingle, chairman of Bell Pottinger Public Affairs and a former Conservative councillor, has asked: "Why is the Coalition Government not pursuing a Tory agenda? Is the Tory party finished?"

Around 30 lobbyists and PR professionals attended the launch at the riverside penthouse flat of Kevin Bell, previously an adviser to Baroness Thatcher and a former executive at the Fleishmann-Hillard PR agency.

Lord Black of Brentwood, executive director of the Telegraph Media Group and a former Tory party communications director, is a leading figure in the group.

Lionel Zetter, a lobbyist and former Conservative agent who initiated the network, told The Independent: "We can provide a more pragmatic, non London-centric viewpoint and help to flag up policies which might be counter-productive or have unintended consequences."

The network will use its business contacts to give informal advice on policy development. "It's always useful for a party to have a sounding board to bounce ideas off," said Mr Zetter, a director of the pollsters ComRes. Mr Zetter said the group, which offers its advice for free, could work with the Treasury to help make the case for cutting the 50 per cent top rate of tax.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Purchasers

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Pu...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Broker

£12000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Trainee Vehicle Broker is req...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service / Data Capture / Telesales

£12000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Front Of House Team Member

£16500 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific