Telegraph disputes Labour ad charge

The Labour Party has become embroiled in a bitter dispute with The Daily Telegraph after claiming that the paper banned an ad for political reasons.

The Labour Party has become embroiled in a bitter dispute with The

Daily Telegraph after claiming that the paper banned an ad for political

reasons.



BMP DDB, Labour’s agency of record, booked a full-page ad in the

Telegraph urging disillusioned Tory supporters to join Labour. Headlined

’Do you believe in a One Nation party?’, it was due to run on Monday,

the first day of the Tory party conference in Blackpool.



Labour claimed that a Telegraph executive had said some of the paper’s

readers might find the ad ’offensive’. Labour officials also alleged the

Telegraph had raised the price of the ad from about pounds 40,000 to

more than pounds 50,000. Labour’s general secretary, Margaret McDonagh,

rushed out a press statement saying: ’We are disappointed that the

Telegraph management is so scared of the power of Tony Blair’s appeal

that they prevented us from putting it in front of their readers.’



However, the Telegraph rejected Labour’s claims as ’defamatory’ and

’maliciously inspired’. It demanded an apology from Labour and is

considering legal action to recover the lost revenue .



The Telegraph insisted Labour had second thoughts about running the ad

and then ’invented a cover story to conceal its actions’. The paper said

it did not practise ’political censorship’ and was still happy to carry

the ad.



Jeremy Deedes, managing director of the Telegraph Group, said: ’What

they are saying is professionally damaging to the Telegraph. I want

someone from the Labour Party to say that the information they put out

is wrong. Second, we want a restoration of the money it’s cost us.’



It is believed that Labour did decide to pull the ad and that a party

official who ’got the wrong end of the stick’ sought to exploit what he

believed was a Telegraph veto.



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