Tories pump pounds 14m into pre-election burst

The Conservative Party will spend a record pounds 14 million on its pre-election advertising - more than double Labour’s budget of pounds 6 million.

The Conservative Party will spend a record pounds 14 million on its

pre-election advertising - more than double Labour’s budget of pounds 6

million.



The work for the 1 May election will be the most expensive in British

political history. The bulk of political advertising will be swelled

further by Sir James Goldsmith’s Referendum Party, which has not

disclosed its ad budget but has a pounds 20 million war chest for its

campaign.



The Tories, who have 3,000 poster sites, have booked 4,000 for the last

four weeks of the campaign. Officials say they also plan a last-minute

pounds 3 million press offensive.



Labour, which now has 2,000 poster sites, will take another 500 after

Easter. It has earmarked pounds 1 million for press ads.



The Tories’ next poster will have an economic message, combining praise

for the Government’s record with a warning about the risk of Tony

Blair’s New Labour.



The Tories have decided to take the gloves off in the later stages by

reviving the ’demon eyes’ posters. But Blair’s face will not be shown,

as this would defy last year’s ruling by the Advertising Standards

Authority.



Tory sources played down reports that Charles Saatchi had emerged from

the shadows to work on the campaign. ’This is Maurice’s show; Charles

will be involved, but not as much as last time,’ one explained.



Labour seized on Charles’s involvement as a sign that M&C Saatchi was in

trouble. ’Every time the Saatchis are threatened with the loss of an

account, they wheel out an ad by Charles,’ a Labour adman said.



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