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Cameron again having to defend himself about his new Strategist

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Cameron again having to defend himself about his new Strategist

Post  Panda on Mon 22 Jul - 15:39

Cameron says he has no idea who Tony Blair's clients are
David Cameron has said that he is lobbied by Tony Blair, as he continues to face questions about his relationship with Lynton Crosby.

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By Peter Dominiczak, Political Correspondent
4:34PM BST 18 Jul 2013

The Prime Minister admitted that Mr Blair, the former Labour leader, lobbies him from “time to time”.

His comments came as he continued to face questions about whether Lynton Crosby, his election strategist, lobbied him on the issue of plain cigarette packaging.

Mr Cameron has insisted that Mr Crosby has never “lobbied me on any Government policies”.

However, the Prime Minister has repeatedly refused to say whether or not he has ever discussed the issue with Mr Crosby.

Mr Blair, the former Prime Minister, is currently working as a United Nations Middle East Peace Envoy.

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“Tony Blair is a good example,” Mr Cameron told ITV News. “Tony Blair is someone who does lobby me from time to time on things like the Middle East peace process.

“Do I have to know who all Tony Blair's other clients are? If I did that, I don't think I've got enough paper in my office to write them all down on.”

Mr Crosby, the Australian political consultant, has been hired to advise the Tories on their campaign to win a majority in the 2015 general election.

He masterminded Boris Johnson’s two successful bids for the London Mayoralty and has been credited with sharpening the Conservatives’ focus since he started working for the party nationally in January.

Reports have suggested that Mr Crosby told Mr Cameron to “get the barnacles off the boat” by concentrating on core electoral battlegrounds and abandoning legislation on peripheral and unpopular issues.

However, he is now under scrutiny after it emerged that his company, Crosby Textor, has had clients including the tobacco company, Philip Morris International, which has opposed plans for cigarettes to be sold in plain packages.

The government has now decided to not to introduce a policy on plain cigarette packaging, arguing that there is not enough evidence that such a plan would work.

The Prime Minister insisted he had “never been lobbied” by Mr Crosby on any subject.

Mr Cameron added: “I’ve been very clear about this. Lynton Crosby is employed by the Conservative Party to advise us on political strategy and dealing with Labour and the rest of it.

“He does not advice on Government polices and he hasn’t lobbied me on any Government policies. I’ve been very clear about that.”

He called it “distraction therapy” for the Labour Party amid Ed Miliband’s continued issue with the unions.

A spokesman for Tony Blair said: “Tony Blair does not ‘lobby’ David Cameron. You cannot seriously compare Tony Blair’s role as Quartet Representative which requires him to talk to governments around the world about the Middle East Peace Process to that of a lobbyist.”

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