Tories set to split with M&C Saatchi

Senior Conservatives expect the party to part company with M&C Saatchi following a series of bruising battles between Maurice Saatchi and the Tory chairman, Brian Mawhinney, during the general election campaign.

Senior Conservatives expect the party to part company with M&C

Saatchi following a series of bruising battles between Maurice Saatchi

and the Tory chairman, Brian Mawhinney, during the general election

campaign.



Tory sources suggest Mawhinney will advise his successor as chairman not

to reappoint M&C Saatchi for the next general election. ’Maurice is a

prima donna,’ claimed one source. ’If Mawhinney is asked for his

recommendations by his successor, his first one will be that we should

never again use M&C Saatchi.’



Tories accused Saatchi of being a ’bad loser’ after a string of

hard-hitting ads about Tony Blair - including one bearing the words

’phoney Tony’ and another reviving the ’demon eyes’ - were rejected by

Mawhinney because the Prime Minister, John Major, refused to authorise

personal attacks on the Labour leader.



It is understood that, on several occasions, Saatchi appealed personally

to Major to run ads, only to find the Prime Minister upholding

Mawhinney’s decision.



Mawhinney is furious at what he saw as an attempt by Saatchi’s allies to

avoid blame for a Tory defeat, after reports appeared in national

newspapers about the conflict over party strategy.



M&C Saatchi sources dismissed the reports as ’black propaganda’ aimed at

undermining Saatchi and denied that he was briefing journalists against

Mawhinney. They predicted that Saatchi would not walk out on the Tories

and that he would still want to be involved in future elections.



Major vetoed Saatchi’s proposals for a last-minute national press blitz

focusing on Blair in a similar style to the ad showing him sitting on

the knee of the German Chancellor, Helmut Kohl.



It is said that Major was determined not to leave the party in the red

at the end of the campaign. The parties’ latest estimates of their ad

budgets show the Tories have spent pounds 12 million and the Referendum

Party, at pounds 7.7 million, has just outspent Labour’s pounds 7.6

million.



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