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Tory fury as BBC sends hecklers to bait Howard
By Patrick Hennessy, Political Editor
The BBC was last night plunged into a damaging general election row after it admitted equipping three hecklers with microphones and sending them into a campaign meeting addressed by Michael Howard, the Conservative leader.
The Tories have made an official protest after the hecklers, who were given the microphones by producers, were caught at a party event in the North West last week. Guy Black, the party's head of communications, wrote in a letter to Helen Boaden, the BBC's director of news, that the hecklers began shouting slogans that were "distracting and clearly hostile to the Conservative Party".
These included "Michael Howard is a liar", "You can't trust the Tories" and "You can only trust Tony Blair".