Coulson and Hilton 'played a blinder' at Birmingham

Agency verdict - Conservatives praised for getting their message across amid doom-and-gloom headlines.

David Cameron's PR chiefs 'played a blinder' at this week's party conference, according to Bell Pottinger Public Affairs chair Peter Bingle.

Much of the conference was overshadowed by news about the world economy, but Bingle said the Tories still got their message across.

'This was a difficult conference for them,' he said. 'They had to look like a government in waiting at a time of global economic meltdown. The masterstroke was Cameron's short speech offering support for the Government.

'The party believes it is going to win, but knows it cannot afford to be smug or over-confident. Steve Hilton and Andy Coulson have both played a blinder at Birmingham.'

Graham McMillan, CEO of Open Road, agreed that Cameron reacted 'swiftly and appropriately' to the economic crisis. 'He may have learned from (US presidential hopeful Barack) Obama's statesmanlike approach,' he said.

But Weber Shandwick public affairs chair Jon McLeod was more cautious. 'The Tories were struggling with an overwhelming tide of global economic news,' he said.

'Cameron's emergency statement was a high-risk strategy. The best he could have hoped for was to limit the extent to which he got lost amid the headlines.'

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