Conservative ads return to personal attacks

The Conservative Party is looking at renewing its personal attacks on Tony Blair with a campaign ridiculing his election promises.

Insiders say new ads, by M&C Saatchi, have been prepared which show an enlarged picture of Blair with the slogan “New Labour, New Haddock”, and “he’d say it if he thought it would get him elected”.

They have been approved by the Party, despite the misgivings of John Major, who fears its advertising image would be further sullied by a series of personal attacks.

The ads may run in press or posters after Easter, just before a return to a new version of the “demon eyes”, which will not use Blair’s face on this occasion. Instead just the eyes will appear. They will increase in size each week as polling day approaches.

The party has been reprimanded by the Advertising Standards Authority for its “sinister and dishonest” depiction of Blair with demon eyes. But senior Tories believe personal attacks, so widely used in US politics, will work well.

While Conservative Central Office refuses to confirm the “Haddock” initiative, a spokesman applauded the idea.

News Analysis, page 22

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