The Conservative Party has been on a mission to hang a certain Tory lobbyist out to dry tonight.
Bell Pottinger Public Affairs chairman Peter Bingle appears to have made himself public enemy number one at CCHQ, as a result of this email, which he sent out to pals this morning.
The memo attacking the Tory election campaign as ‘shambolic’ made the second item on the Channel 4 News this evening. As well as laying in to Bingle on Twitter (head of press Henry Macrory has been leading the attacks), CCHQ put out a damning statement:
‘This is a lobbyist with his own agenda who has no understanding at all of what is going in Tory HQ.’
Of course, the latter part of this statement may not be entirely true – and not just because, over the years, the likeable and ‘never knowingly under lunched‘ Bingle has spent numerous hours in expensive restaurants with various Tories.
At Bell Pottinger, Bingle’s right-hand man is the former Tory cabinet minister (and before that party comms director) Tim Collins who surely does have a pretty good idea of what is happening in CCHQ. Until very recently, Bingle worked alongside Jonathan Caine who is now back in CCHQ working for the shadow Northern Ireland secretary. Bingle is also pretty close to his direct boss, Thatcher’s image guru Tim Bell…
Meanwhile, Channel 4’s Cathy Newman, who broke the story, suggests that Bingle is on the money:
‘Peter Bingle’s email matters b/c it’s what MPs, peers and candidates are saying privately…have i touched a nerve with tory tweeters?!?’
Either way, despite the ferocious onslsught, the wounded Bingle is not defecting to Labour just yet.
Just after 8pm he tweeted: ‘Why is Henry McCrory being so horrible? There is no more committed Tory than me.’
Then, a bit later: ‘Being attacked by the party you love is a new experience. I continue to want David Cameron to be the next PM …’
FURTHER VIEWING: In the middle of last year’s Tory conference, Bingle appeared in this memorable Channel Four News package – and was introduced as ’the godfather of Tory lobbying’.
I don’t recall too many complaints from CCHQ back then…!