Lord Ashcroft could have “easily” published his book about David Cameron before the general election if he wanted to damage the Prime Minister, the peer’s co-author has said.
Isabel Oakeshott, the former political editor of the Sunday Times who wrote the book with the former Conservative party treasurer, said the biography was timed to do the least possible damage to Mr Cameron.
“If this was just a revenge job then Lord Ashcroft and I could have published it before the election. That would have caused far more damage – he could easily have done that,” she told BBC Radio 4’s World at One programme.
“Or indeed we could have published the book over party conference. David Cameron has said he’s not going to be serving a third term as part leader – he’s not going to go on and on. By publishing at this point that will do the least possible damage.
“It’s never going to be comfortable but this is the best possible timing from his point of view. He’s not going to be standing again.”
Ms Oakeshott and Lord Ashcroft collated the unauthorised biography, titled Call Me Dave, from the peer’s recollections of Mr Cameron’s period as leader.
The Daily Mail newspaper, which is serialising the book, characterised its contents as “revenge” by the major Tory donor against Mr Cameron for allegedly neglecting his influence.
The book contained lurid allegations, including one attributed to an unnamed MP who said that whilst a student at Oxford University Mr Cameron had inserted his private parts into a dead pig’s head.
Downing Street has declined to comment on the allegations regarding Mr Cameron and Lord Ashcroft has also said that perhaps the claim was a case of mistaken identity.
Lord Ashcroft tweeted this afternoon: "Just finished my third day on the Battlefields of Gallipoli. Fascinating experience. Must catch up with what's happening in the UK."
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies