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Sunday, 15 July, 2001, 23:25 GMT 00:25 UK
Portillo camp hit by Platell video
Amanda Platell contemplates Tory defeat
Amanda Platell believed the Tories would lose
Ex-Tory press chief Amanda Platell has mounted a withering attack on Michael Portillo's allies in her election video diary.

Ms Platell predicted political "death" for anyone seen to have betrayed the party, in a documentary secretly filmed by her during the campaign.

But allegations that his allies undermined William Hague have been vehemently rejected by Mr Portillo.

Michael Portillo
Michael Portillo has denied allegations of betrayal
In the programme, screened on Channel 4 on Sunday, Ms Platell accused "Portillo's people" of briefing against the Tory leader and his tactics.

Mr Portillo's ally and leadership campaign manager Francis Maude was also accused of rubbishing Mr Hague.

Ms Platell also revealed that she felt during the campaign the Conservatives could not win and that she would soon be out of a job.

Betrayal consequences

But she still attacked Francis Maude and associates of Mr Portillo for what journalist friends told her was secret briefing against the Tories' campaign tactics.

And she warned that any betrayal would have consequences.

"It would be death to any potential, wannabe leader if he was seen to be derailing an election campaign."


It would be death to any potential, wannabe leader if he was seen to be derailing an election campaign

Amanda Platell
She insisted as the campaign drew to a close that she was receiving "endless calls" about surreptitious calls to journalists by Portillo allies.

"I still find it slightly shocking. We are fighting so hard and to find that all they are concentrating on is how they are going to pull it down."

Ms Platell also said that Mr Portillo had urged William Hague to publicly repudiate Margaret Thatcher's comments on multi-culturalism in a Daily Mail interview.

She insisted that a row with Mrs Thatcher would have dealt a disastrous blow to the Conservative election campaign.

Portillo ridiculed

Right-wing leadership contender Iain Duncan Smith was said to have argued that Mr Hague was "the only man who can lead the party" in the hours after the crushing poll defeat on 7 June.

Shadow chancellor Mr Portillo has already conceded that he has lost ground in the Tory leadership contest and no longer believes he will win in the next round of voting on Tuesday.


Francis [Maude] is doing it and Michael's people are doing it

Amanda Platell on secret briefings

He had been the frontrunner and topped the first two ballots of Tory MPs since Mr Hague announced he was standing down.

But he was dealt a blow when former Europe Minister David Davis quit the race to back Mr Duncan Smith on Friday.

In a further development, Lady Thatcher's private office dismissed a story in the Sunday Telegraph claiming she believes Mr Portillo is the best leadership candidate.

Denials

A spokesman said that Lady Thatcher had not yet supported any of the candidates, despite reports she feels Mr Duncan Smith does not have sufficient experience.

It has also been reported that fellow former Tory premier John Major plans to urge party members not to vote for Mr Duncan Smith.

Iain Duncan Smith
Iain Duncan Smith: Right-wing contender
Mr Portillo has received public declarations of support from two former Tory chairmen and leading businessmen.

Lord Baker declared for Mr Portillo in a joint letter in Monday's edition of The Times with Lord Parkinson.

But, as neither is an MP, they will not be able to vote in Tuesday's knock-out round to decide the two challengers to go before all 300,000 Tory members, with the victor named on 12 September.

Eleven businessmen have also declared support for Mr Portillo in the Financial Times, his spokesman said.

These reportedly include Sir Clive Thompson, chief executive of Rentokil and the last president of the CBI, Sir Stanley Kalms, chair of the Dixon group and Lord Sainsbury, former chair of the supermarket empire.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's political reporter Tim Finch
"Michael Portillo's supporters went on the offensive"
The BBC's political correspondent Guto Harri
"I don't think Mr Portillo will want to continue in politics if he is rejected"

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