Before Ed Miliband gets too high and mighty about News International...
By Tim Montgomerie
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Peter Oborne in this week's Spectator (not yet online) reminds us of the man Ed Miliband appointed as his chief spindoctor:
"The truth is that Ed Miliband had made his choice very early with the appointment of Tom Baldwin, a former News International journalist, as his spin doctor. This mirrored David Cameron’s appointment of Coulson, another Murdoch high-flyer, to a similar role. For ten years, Baldwin was at the heart of a Times campaign to destroy Lord Ashcroft, the former Tory treasurer. As Ashcroft records in his book Dirty Politics, Dirty Times, illegal techniques were used, though not directly by Baldwin. A private investigator was used to ‘blag’ his way into the Conservative party bank account, while the Times paid £6,000 to a US Drugs Enforcement Agency official called Jonathan Randel for leaked information (the Times insisted the money was simply paid as a ‘research fee’). As a result Randel was sent to jail. Perhaps Baldwin, like his former News International colleagues, doesn’t find phone hacking too shocking. Indeed, one of his first actions as Miliband’s spin-doctor was to instruct Labour MPs to go easy on the scandal. In a leaked memo, he ordered them not to link it to the impending takeover decision on BSkyB."