It has formalised an unofficial relationship with the agency, having used the Lewis Media Centre in Millbank since Lewis took over the facility – ironically the former base of Labour’s campaign machine – in December 2002.
While Lewis previously provided PR advice for the party on a pro bono basis, it is now earning an ongoing fee.
Lewis chairman and CEO Chris Lewis is media training the shadow cabinet in preparation for next week’s party conference. Head of PA Clive Booth – who is the Tory candidate for York – is to take charge of media training the party’s 400 prospective parliamentary candidates in England and Wales in preparation for the election campaign. The pair will also advise on speech presentation.
The Conservative Party’s chief of staff, Bill Clare, made the appointment. Lewis will support the party’s 40-strong press and PR team.
‘In terms of presentation, we have not used anyone to do this type of thing in the recent past,’ said Clare. ‘We had a relationship with Chris Lewis before Michael Howard became leader and the important point is that the relationship becomes more clearly defined.
‘Lewis offers us things that we do not currently have and it is important to project the messages we need to put across,’ Clare added.
The deal comes two weeks after the party relaunched its torch logo as part of a rebranding exercise as it unveiled its conference programme.
A Mori opinion poll conducted between 10-14 September showed the Tories one per cent above Labour for the first time in two years. Thirty-three per cent of those who said they would be certain to vote in an immediate general election supported the Tories.
Prime Minister Tony Blair must set a date before June 2006, the end of Labour’s current five-year term.