Extraordinary story in the Sunday Times about the Audit Commission, the taxpayer funded local government regulator, spending £60,000 to lobby against the Conservatives. This is because of proposals from the Party to scale back the Commission's budget and endless regulations - which at present represent a heavy financial burden for town halls to comply with. In particular the Conservatives are pledged to scrap the Comprehensive Area Assessments (CAA.)
The Commission hasn't even been subtle. They chose Connect Public Affairs, a lobbyists founded by Labour MP Rosie Winterton. The firm advised the best strategy would be to try and generate Tory splits on the issue with “strong local lobbying response in order to mitigate and combat the activities of Eric Pickles." I can't imagine they will have much luck finding Tory councillors declaring how tremendously worthwhile the CAA is - the process is the most time consuming, scandalous, bureaucratic waste of money. But even more outrageous is the idea of taxpayers money being used to campaign against a political party and it evidently not occurring to the Audit Commission that this is not considered an appropriate way to behave in this country.