Labour pulls spy stunt in UK election campaign

29th April 2015, Comments 0 comments

A "secret plan" by the Conservatives, a hacked email inbox and supposedly confidential files: Britain's opposition Labour party laid on the James Bond-style flourishes at a campaign event on Wednesday.

"Today we reveal the truth... If the Tories get back in on May 8, family budgets will be hit," Labour leader Ed Miliband told supporters in a speech.

"Today we show what another five years of Tory government would mean. A Tory secret plan," he said.

The launch was designed to showcase Labour's claims that the Conservatives have a "secret plan" to cut tax credits for families in order to meet their spending targets.

Tax credits are a state benefit aimed at people in low-income jobs or caring for children.

Voters were invited to visit the Labour-designed website -- torysecretplan.com, a mock-up of what Labour said Prime Minister David Cameron's inbox might look like.

In it is a single email addressed to "Dave" from finance minister George Osborne outlining alleged planned cuts to welfare and services "not to be disclosed until 8 May" -- a day after the general election.

The fake document marked "Top Secret" even included made-up annotations in red by the Conservatives' Australian campaign strategist Lynton Crosby.

A message appearing on the screen said: "The Tories' extreme plans for after the election would mean cuts to our NHS (National Health Service), another rise in VAT and slashing tax credits and child benefit."

The Conservative Party dismissed the claims as untrue and has promised to ban major tax increases for the next five years if it wins the election, which is too close to call.

"There's one guaranteed risk to working people's finances -- Ed Miliband... crashing the economy and putting up taxes," a Conservative spokesman said.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies, an independent think tank, has criticised both the main parties for not being transparent about the budget austerity required to meet their deficit-cutting goals.

There was not a vodka-martini in sight at the Labour event but the stunt included cupcakes with the slogan "The Tories' Secret Plan" stamped in red on the icing.


© 2015 AFP

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