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The BBC's Norman Smith
"This latest leak makes grim reading for the government"
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UK Chancellor, Gordon Brown
"These things happen in government"
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Clive Soley, Chairman Parliamentary Labour Party
"One assumes this is happening via the Tory party"
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Wednesday, 19 July, 2000, 11:31 GMT 12:31 UK
New memo leak hits Blair
Brown, Mandelson, Campbell and Blair
Memo sent to Brown, Mandelson, Campbell and Blair
Downing Street has extended the inquiry into the prime minister's leaked memo after another private note - this time from a top adviser - surfaced in the press.

The memo from pollster Philip Gould, one of Tony Blair's closest advisers and an architect of New Labour, appears in Wednesday's editions of The Sun and The Times newspapers.

The Times and The Sun
The Times and The Sun reveal the memo's contents
In the frank memo Mr Gould, who conducts focus groups for Tony Blair, warns that the government could have its parliamentary majority slashed at the next election, and that it risked being seen as ineffective in tackling key issues.

The Conservatives have denied repeated suggestions from Labour that they could have had anything to do with the series of leaks that have caused serious embarrassment for Mr Blair.

Restricted to inner circle

This latest leak follows last week's revelation - also on the front pages of The Sun and The Times - of Mr Blair's memo to close allies expressing fears that his government was regarded as "out of touch" on issues such as crime and asylum seekers.

Mr Gould's note was apparently sent to Mr Blair, Chancellor Gordon Brown, Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Mandelson and the prime minister's spokesman, Alastair Campbell.

We are not believed to have delivered

Philip Gould's memo
It says the government was perceived as failing to deliver on the National Health Service, was being outflanked by the Tories on crime and was seen as insufficiently pro-family.

The government is seen as "lacking in gut patriotic instincts", it adds.

It goes on to state that "worst of all, the New Labour brand has been badly contaminated". The government had been "undermined" by spin and its apparent lack of integrity.

Responding to the leak, Gordon Brown strongly denied that he had read the memo or that it had been sent to him.

Philip Gould, the Prime Minister's pollster
Gould: "New Labour brand is ridiculed"
He told the BBC: "I am not going to be diverted by short-term publicity of leaked memos - these are ephemeral things. What we have got to get on with the long term business of improving the country."

"Some people have said it was sent to me. It certainly was not sent to me."

Mr Brown added that the public did not expect the government to spend time reading such memos, "they expect us to get on with the job".

A Downing Street spokesman said the leak was plainly designed to undermine the prime minister.

While Education Secretary David Blunkett said he believed there was a "mole" in Downing Street with a grudge against the government.

The memo - Getting the Right Place in History and not the Wrong One - was sent by Mr Gould before May's local elections. It is the latest in a series of documents leaked to newspapers.

Shadow chancellor Michael Portillo denied his party had anything to do with the leak. He said the memo showed the insincerity of ministers.

He told the BBC: "This theory that it is someone from another party, or some kind of electronic hacking, is not borne out by the journalists who actually know."

New Labour brand

Of the New Labour "brand" Mr Gould writes in his memo: "It is the object of constant criticism, and even worse, ridicule, undermined by a combination of spin, lack of conviction and apparently lack of integrity, manifested by the [London] mayor selection process."

Mr Gould said US pollster Stanley Greenberg - who works with Mr Gould - predicted the Tories would win 37% of the vote in the next general election, with Labour taking 42%.

This would dramatically slash Labour's lead and leave the result "too close for comfort", Mr Gould says.

An inquiry has been launched into both leaks
The focus groups Mr Gould is famous for running for New Labour gave, he says, the message that the government was losing its way.

"The cost of all this has been high.

"We are outflanked on patriotism and crime; we are suffering from disconnection; we have been assailed for spin and broken promises; we are not believed to have delivered."

John Redwood, chairman of the Tories' Parliamentary campaigns unit, said the memo highlighted Labour's weaknesses.

"Mr Gould's leaked memo reads like one of my press releases - it shows how New Labour is falling to bits ... As Mr Gould points out so well, they come across as a party of spin and broken promises."

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See also:

19 Jul 00 | UK Politics
What did the leaked memo say?
19 Jul 00 | UK Politics
Labour's leaks: A recent history
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New Labour's focused architect
23 Feb 00 | Labour centenary
Philip Gould: The mission remains the same
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A leak for the plugging
17 Jul 00 | UK Politics
Where is the leak weak link?
17 Jul 00 | UK Politics
Inquiry into leaked Blair memo
19 Jul 00 | UK Politics
Death by a thousand leaks
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