Charles told: 'stop the spin'

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The Prince of Wales last night was urged to "stop the spinning" from St James's Palace after claims that he is exploiting his sons to improve his own image.

Norman Baker, the Liberal Democrat spokesman on security and intelligence, warned that the spinning masterminded by Mark Bolland, the Prince's deputy press secretary, could backfire. Criticism of Mr Bolland's handling of Prince Charles's media relations grew after last weekend's carefully managed reports that Prince Harry had been involved in drugs and alcohol abuse.

It led to reports yesterday that the spinning had fuelled a long-running dispute between the Prince of Wales and Earl Spencer, brother of Diana, the late Princess of Wales, over claims that St James's Palace is using William and Harry to gain support for their father.

Last night, Mr Baker said the Prince was risking creating more problems for his sons by apparently having colluded with the News of the World in the Harry story. He warned it would be seen as an invitation to break the privacy code protecting William at university.