Guido can reveal that a young Labour activist called Jake Johnstone is producing material smearing Liz Kendall as a Tory. Jake is supporting Yvette Cooper in the leadership campaign and has in the past been employed by both Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper to design promotional material.
Jake has been using the skills he learnt on Yvette’s campaign to provide the graphics for a fake Facebook page called “Liz Kendall for Conservative Leader“, a smear operation that has gained almost as many likes as Liz Kendall’s real Facebook page. Stories about the Facebook page have appeared widely and successfully focused derision on Liz Kendall who is the centrist candidate for Labour leader that left-wingers like to describe as “Tory-lite”. Yvette herself accuses Kendall of “swallowing the Tory manifesto”. Which is why this smear chimes in so well with her own campaign theme:
What happened to the Yvette Cooper campaign’s ‘no negative briefing‘ promise?
So, on behalf of Yvette’s Leadership Campaign, I am today making these promises:
If anyone is speaking on behalf of the campaign, they will do so explicitly on the record. There will be no unattributed negative briefings about other candidates because that’s not the kind of politics Yvette has ever wanted to champion
If anyone else is speaking to you and claiming to do so on Yvette’s behalf and wants to criticise opponents – you can take it from me that they do not speak for the campaign or Yvette – and if she or I get to hear about it they will have lost our trust and our respect. I hope that all of the candidates will join me in making that pledge
If Yvette disagrees with things the other candidates are saying she will say so herself – on the record or in interviews.
We want this campaign to be about the best Labour has to offer. Negative briefing has no place in this debate.
Either Jake Johnstone is disowned by Yvette Cooper or we can assume she implicitly approves of the smears which reinforce her own campaign theme…
UPDATE: See follow up Jake Lies About Faking “Tory Liz” Facebook Smear