Tories hire chief to regain core votes

The Conservative Party has hired a former Daily Mail events marketer as its marketing chief in an effort to re-engage the middle England voters who deserted the party at the past two general elections.

Victoria Borwick, who was Steven Norris' running mate at the 2000 London mayoral election, has been appointed director of income generation and marketing, responsible for gaining new revenue from the Tories' supporter base.

News of the appointment comes in the same week as the Conservatives' annual conference. Delegates were told by chairman Theresa May that the party faced a third successive "slaughter" at the next election unless it improved its image.

Borwick will have a powerful role in shaping the party's image and brand presentation as it attempts to bolster its membership ranks and take the fight to Labour under beleaguered leader Iain Duncan Smith.

Her role, which initially focuses on the Tories' members' clubs, is also likely to include brand strategy and working on future election campaigns.

Borwick replaces Vanessa Ford, who is understood to have resigned earlier this year to take a senior role in the voluntary sector.

Borwick's previous employment includes event marketing roles for the Daily Mail, dmg world media and the Earls Court and Olympia exhibition venues. She also has an extensive track record of public service as a local councillor in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Freeman of the City of London, a charity trustee and chair of governors for an education authority .

Borwick reports to chief executive Mark McGregor, and party treasurer Sir Stanley Kalms, founder of the Dixons retail empire.

Part of her remit will be to combat the Tories' slump into the red. Last month's annual accounts showed a deficit of £1.6m for the year to the end of March, reflecting the increasingly precarious nature of political party finances.

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