‘Unethical’ Sun has harmed Tories, says Zac Goldsmith
The Mole: Is Zac working for the other side? Or is he actually right?
If you didn't know any better, you might assume Zac Goldsmith, environmentalist son of the late Sir James Goldsmith and - until this week, anyway - one of David Cameron's bright hopes for the future of the Conservative party, was working secretly for the Labour Party.
As The Mole reported on Monday, Zac, the prospective Tory candidate for Richmond Park in the upcoming general election, is already causing problems for Cameron after it became public knowledge that the young millionaire is taking advantage of non-dom tax status.
This is a particularly raw subject in Tory ranks because of the continued refusal of the Conservatives' deputy chairman, Lord Aschcroft, to come clean about his residency status.
Now, just when you might have expected young Zac to retreat to the shadows and let the chit-chat over his fortune go away, he has instead grabbed the opportunity of a London lecture to say the currently unthinkable: that the backing of the Sun newspaper has harmed the Tories.
This is truly embarrassing for Cameron. It comes only weeks after the country's biggest newspaper announced it could no longer support Gordon Brown and was throwing its weight behind Dave's Tories. Zac might think it a sordid little rag, but in senior Tory circles its support is seen as a godsend.
Zac's sacrilegious remarks came as he talked about the Sun's recent treatment of Gordon Brown over the issue of the wrongly spelt letter the PM wrote to the grieving mother of a soldier who died on duty in Afghanistan.
"[My] heart went out to Gordon Brown," said Goldsmith, "and I was repulsed by the Sun and I thought 'My God, I did not want this newspaper to be backing my campaign.' It is immoral and unethical and wrong. The Conservative party by default got caught up by this which is a shame."
A spokesman for Cameron, asked for a comment yesterday, snapped: "Zac is a candidate, not a frontbencher. He does not have influence over policy."
And never will do, if he goes on like this.
There is, however, one point in Zac's favour - he could actually be right about the Sun's support harming Tory chances. Opinion polls show that since the Murdoch paper came out for Dave, the gap between the Tories and Labour has narrowed. ·
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