A row has broken out in the Conservative Party over its decision to
stop running advertisements about public services from its general
Tory moderates have warned that the party's pitch for floating voters
has been damaged by plans to switch from posters featuring police,
teachers and nurses to ads promising tax cuts and mentioning the issue
The criticism is understood to be shared by Yellow M, the party's
agency, although it has denied speculation that there is a rift between
it and Conservative Central Office.
Some Tory candidates are disappointed that the party is no longer
running Yellow M's "You paid the tax, so where are the
nurses/teachers/police?" ads, which broke earlier this year. They
believe this was the right strategy for the election because most voters
cited health, education and crime as their main concerns.
Ian Taylor, a former Tory Science Minister, said: "The ads were
effective, but we undermined them. We should be showing how we could
deliver better public services for an equivalent amount of taxpayers'
As the election campaign entered its final week, the Liberal Democrats
accused Labour of stealing the idea for its poster showing William Hague
with Margaret Thatcher's hair. The Lib Dems said it mirrored an unused
ad by their agency Banc showing John Prescott with Ann Widdecombe's
Tony Blair denied negative campaigning, describing the TBWA/London ad as
"amusing, with a serious point". But the Shadow Chancellor, Michael
Portillo, said: "All Labour's posters are in-jokes intended to cheer up
N1 but they have no impact outside there at all."