Cameron's new star advisor Jim Messina accused of involvement in 'the most homophobic political advert in US history'

The allegations date back to Messina's time as chief of staff to Max Baucus

David Cameron's sprinkling of star power onto his electoral campaign team has started to cause problems only days after he appointed US campaign veteran Jim Messina, after it emerged that the social media guru may  been involved in a homophobic political ad campaign.

Jim Messina, who managed both of President Obama's election campaigns, was on Saturday night dealing with allegations, first made in 2002, that he was behind what has been described as the most homophobic political advert in US history.

The allegations date back to Messina's time as chief of staff to Max Baucus, a Democrat senator in Montana, according to the Observer. 

He is alleged to have produced a TV advert in which a rival candidate, Mike Taylor, is shown rubbing lotion to a man's face, then appearing to reach towards the man's groin. A voiceover in the background says, "Not the way we do business in Montana". 

The footage of Taylor is said to have been taken from an advert for the candidate's hairdressing business. 

Taylor dropped out of the election following the advert's broadcast and Baucus won.

In a magazine interview last year Baucus appeared to confirm Messina's involvement in making the advert, despite previous denials. 

He said, "Jim is tough. I'll never forget when he showed me that ad. We were in Bozeman in a motel. The curtains were drawn. He said: 'Max, what do you think?' They were afraid I wasn't going to like it. I loved it!"

Commenting on the controversy, Labour MP Chris Bryant told the newspaper that David Cameron is not very good at hiring senior staff, saying, "Scratch the surface of the Tories' campaign team and you find a pretty unpleasant past."

Messina joined the Tories' campaign team after being paid a visit by Lynton Crosby and party co-chairmen the MP Grant Shapps and the peer Andrew Feldman.