The Tories in Bournemouth: Conference Notebook: Official: what John Major says today may not necessarily be all True

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The Independent Online
MICHAEL HESELTINE'S reference to Ed Balls writing Gordon Brown's speech - 'not Brown's, it's all Balls' - set Tories thinking about the Prime Minister's speechwriters.

Following Mr Heseltine's lead, one Tory leadership source said the Prime Minister's keynote speech today may not be all Mr Major's, but it was nearly 'all True'.

Nick True, a member of the Downing Street policy unit, was the writer-in-chief with Jonathan Hill, the Prime Minister's political adviser. But as the head of the policy unit, Sarah Hogg, was also closely involved, no doubt Mr Brown will describe it as Hoggwash.

Maurice Saatchi, the Tories' adviser on publicity, was called into No 10 last weekend to cast an eye over a draft of the speech. Saatchis are also preparing a 'special' warm-up before the Prime Minister speaks. Last year, they prepared the Jurassic Park spoof of John Prescott, the deputy leader of the Labour Party portrayed as a dinosaur.

Delegates are hoping for Prescott 2. Indeed, Mr Prescott is so popular with Tory supporters that the original could turn out to have more sequels than Lethal Weapon.

A member of John Prescott's leadership campaign team, Ian McCartney, has been at the Tory Party conference all week for a Granada programme with Nigel Evans, the Tory MP.

At Labour's gathering in Blackpool, Mr Evans infuriated the new-look party's public relations team by hijacking a photo opportunity - he got in the front row for a trip on the 'Big One', Europe's highest rollercoaster ride, which only one Labour MP was prepared to test.

Mr McCartney, a tough-talking Scotsman with a Lancashire seat, got in his retaliation. Mr Evans took him to a fringe meeting to see Mr Portillo after his conference triumph.

He was supposed to just make light of it, but he pulled out a blank sheet of paper and asked the Secretary of State for Employment, in front of the cameras, to write his apology to the millions put out of work by Tory policies. Mr Evans's feelings about his Labour friend are not printable in a family newspaper.

The Home Secretary could not rely on Michael Portillo's right- wing cheerleaders yesterday in the law and order debate. The Thatcherites do not entirely trust Michael Howard because they are not sure if he is 'one of us'. Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair's press secretary and a Burnley Football Club fan, says it is all revealed in his book, Football and Commons People, which reveals that Mr Howard supports not one but three teams: Llanelli, Swansea and Tottenham.

The party is now getting tough on critics of crime. The Basingstoke association yesterday said it was returning a pounds 500 donation from Peter Cadbury, heir to the chocolate empire, after it saw as a 'stab in the back' Mr Cadbury's lashing of Government policy after his home was burgled in August and his 16-year-old son, George, was mugged near a cash dispenser.

He said then it was 'pointless' to report crimes to the police, and said ministers were soft on crime. Mr Cadbury has now promised the money to the Suzy Lamplugh Trust for victims of crime. And yesterday he said he could not be sweet-talked back into the Tory fold: 'I will certainly have nothing more to do with them.'

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