The Conservative Party is to block the Government's recruitment
campaigns for police and nurses when Tony Blair announces the general
election, expected in June.
Although most advertising by Whitehall departments is halted when an
election is called, non-controversial campaigns such as recruitment work
have continued during previous elections by agreement between the
Government and Opposition.
But the Tories will break with precedent this year by arguing that the
multimillion-pound drives to recruit police officers and nurses should
be scrapped because they are so politically sensitive.
The Tories have renewed claims that ministers had launched a
pre-election advertising 'splurge' after a study by AC Neilsen MMS, the
media monitoring company, showed the Government spent pounds 30.2
million in March, taking its total spend in the first three months of
this year to pounds 62.8 million.
Michael Ancram, the Tory chairman, said: 'Taxpayers will be appalled
that they are being forced to stump up a propaganda stealth tax to pay
for Tony Blair's re-election campaign.'