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LONDON – Theresa May allegedly spent at least £4 million paying elections strategist Sir Lynton Crosby’s firm to run the Conservatives’ catastrophic general election campaign.
Crosby’s company CTF Partners charged the Conservative Party over £4 million to run the campaign having masterminded the party’s election success in 2015, according to The Sun newspaper.
A senior Conservative source said: “It was easily £4 million and when the final invoices are totted up it could be much more.”
Much of this money is believed to have been spent on polling, focus groups and call centres that had to be set up in a short period of time between Prime Minister May’s decision to hold a snap election in April and voting day on June 8.
The Tories were widely expected to return an increased parliamentary majority of over 70 seats before the election but ended up losing thirteen and being forced into a confidence and supply deal with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to operate a working majority in the House of Commons.
Australian Crosby, whose success in running election campaigns has earned him titles like “the master of the dark political arts” and “Wizard of Oz,”insisted in July that the decision to call an early election was the right one, saying: “On polling day, over 70% of voters thought the Conservatives were going to win.”
May’s ex-chief of staff Nick Timothy hinted in June that the fault for the election disaster lay Crosby and his firm.
Writing for the Spectator, Timothy said: “On the advice of the campaign consultants, and following opinion research that showed Theresa to be far more popular than the party or her colleagues, we eschewed our instincts. We were wrong to do so.”
The news will likely anger Tory backbenchers who watched May throw away her majority by calling a snap election as the £4 million spent on Crosby works out at more than £300,000 for every lost seat.