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DOWNING STREET e-mails setting out plans for a vicious smear campaign against the Tories, which last night forced the resignation of one of the prime minister’s most senior aides, are revealed today.
The e-mails, seen by The Sunday Times, expose how Gordon Brown’s head of strategy and planning wrote to a Labour spin doctor proposing a campaign of unfounded personal slurs against senior Tories. The smears, many of a sexual nature, were planned as part of a strategy to “destabilise” the opposition in the run-up to the general election.
The operation was designed to target David Cameron, the Conservative leader, George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, and three other Tory MPs. The messages from Damian McBride, a long-standing Labour aide, were sent from an official No 10 e-mail address. The unfounded smears suggested: “Putting the fear of God” into Osborne by spreading rumours that he took drugs and had sex with a prostitute. Spreading rumours about the mental health of Osborne’s wife. Challenging Cameron to reveal details of an “embarrassing illness”. Accusing a gay Tory MP of promoting his partner’s business interests in the Commons.