Portland red-faced after Asda tribunal

Tony Blair's former deputy press secretary Tim Allan just can't stay out of trouble. Months after getting into hot water for leaking a video of a prickly John Humphrys speech at the Communications Directors' Forum to The Times, Allan's firm Portland PR is referred to throughout an £850,000 employment tribunal judgement against Portland client Asda.

Asda, which is owned by the not-exactly-union-friendly Wal-Mart, paid Portland to produce literature against collective pay bargaining in a bid to influence a poll among workers at two of Asda's depots in Tyne & Wear. The tribunal took a dim view of Portland's writings, which it described as 'hostile to trade unions and highly disparaging of the process of collective bargaining.'

On Friday, Portland 'partner', Brussels-based PA consultancy GPlus was already distancing itself, claiming it had not given permission for its logo to be used on Portland's website and quickly securing its removal.

When Diary calls, Allan declines to comment on 'advice we give to our clients'.

The GMB added to Allan's red face last Friday with a protest outside Portland's swanky offices in High Holborn, though Allan himself was on holiday at the time.

'If ever there was a reason for MPs to look at what people like Allan get up to, this is it,' GMB general-secretary Paul Kenny told PRWeek at the demo. 'He is giving PR a bad name.' Fiery stuff.

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