John Howard’s backroom plotter accused

Lynton Crosby … denial.
Photo: Jacky Ghossein

HE HAS been described as the master of the dark political arts and prefers the back rooms to the spotlight, but John Howard’s favourite strategist, Lynton Crosby, was yesterday thrust onto the London mayoral hustings accused of muckraking and dirty tricks.

The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, says a stream of rumour and innuendo – including claims of three “secret” children and the hiring of an Islamic extremist on his staff – emanate from Mr Crosby, his opponent’s campaign manager.

Mr Livingstone, a wily independent returned to the Labour Party fold, is seeking a third term against the witty Conservative MP and TV celebrity Boris Johnson.

“You clearly don’t employ Lynton Crosby if you want a clean and uplifting campaign, and I have to say, for the first time in life, I see the value of a rigorous deportation policy for undesirable aliens,” Mr Livingstone quipped. The Mayor was forced to conduct a long, unscheduled, BBC TV interview last week to defuse plans by a Sunday tabloid to serialise extracts of a biography that revealed he had three other children from two previous relationships. Mr Livingstone has two young children with his partner, Emma Beale.

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