Tory activists have been urged to campaign like Donald Trump by “weaponising fake news” and talking “nonsense” if it works, in a party newsletter.
The bulletin sent out to members in Northamptonshire says “there are lessons that we can learn from Trump”, adding: “A lie can go round the world before the truth can get its boots on.”
It also vows to “fight woke-ism”, attacking Labour’s landmark Equality Act, designed to stamp out prejudice in the workplace and public services – arguing it “legalises discrimination based on gender”.
The newsletter, issued in Peter Bone’s constituency of Wellingborough, sparked a protest from one local Conservative, who says he was then dropped from the candidates' list for the seat.
Jack Summers told The Times, which revealed it, that he had received threatening phone calls warning him that his political career was over if he did not fall into line.
“I'm not willing to go along with what's being instructed,” he said.
“This is an attack on democracy. The Conservative Party has changed. It's not what I joined – it seems more like an English nationalist party than the Conservative Party.”
The newsletter says campaigners should view fake news as a technique that “crowds out genuine news” and allows “honest politicians” to be “pushed off the front pages”.
“You say the first thing that comes into your head,” it reads, adding: “It’ll probably be nonsense, but it knocks your opponent out of his stride and takes away his headline.
“You may get a bad headline saying that you spoke something silly, but you can live that down. Meanwhile your opponent is knocked off the news-feed”
The bulletin concludes: “Sometimes, it is better to give the WRONG answer at the RIGHT time, than the RIGHT answer at the WRONG time.”
Activists are also told that the lesson of the defeated US president is that “he Weaponises Fake News”.
“If you make enough dubious claims, fast enough, honest speakers are overwhelmed. If someone tweets ten dubious claims per day and it takes you a week to disprove each one, then you are doomed,” it says.
“Trump uses this tactic to dominate the news and to crowd out legitimate politicians.”
And, urging them to “fight Woke-ism”, it reads: “Positive discrimination and other forms of officially tolerated racism infuriate many voters.
“An example of the “deep state” woke-ism is the 2010 Equalities Act [sic].
“It actually legalises discrimination in politics based on gender. (Labour put this into the Act because they wanted to discriminate and didn’t want to break their own Law!)”
The Conservative Party has been asked to comment on the newsletter, issued earlier this month.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies