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BBC TwoNewsnight
Last Updated: Friday, 2 March 2007, 10:21 GMT
Cameron student photo is banned
Newsnight commissioned a version of the Bullingdon photo

News media have been prevented from showing a photo of David Cameron with fellow Oxford dining club members.

The image of the Tory leader, which shows him in about 1986 dressed in the uniform of the elite Bullingdon Club, has appeared in several newspapers.

It is thought Labour was planning to use the picture on an election poster.

But the photographers who have withdrawn it say they acted for commercial reasons and have had no contact with the Conservative Party.

The Conservatives have also denied asking the Oxford-based company Gillman and Soame, who own the copyright, to withhold permission to show the picture.

The photographers told BBC Two's Newsnight they had taken a "policy decision," after the picture appeared in national newspapers, not to allow any school photographs they own to be published.

Notorious

BBC Two's Newsnight has commissioned a painting of the scene shown in the Bullingdon picture.

The Bullingdon Club is famed for its hard drinking and bad behaviour, and Mr Cameron has always refused to talk about it.

Tony Blair gestures in this student photo

The club's members have become notorious over the years for vandalising restaurants and trashing students' rooms.

Former members include Alan Clark, who gained fame as a political diarist after serving as a junior minister in Margaret Thatcher's government.

Andrew Gimson, author of The Rise of Boris Johnson, said: "I don't think an evening would have ended without a restaurant being trashed and being paid for in full, very often in cash.

"A night in the cells would be regarded as being par for a Buller man and so would debagging anyone who really attracted the irritation of the Buller men."

'Aristocratic'

In the photo Mr Cameron and several other Bullingdon members, including the young Boris Johnson, now shadow higher education minister, pose in their 1,000 uniforms of blue ties, tails and biscuit-coloured waistcoats.