Johnson defends Cameron aide

Boris Johnson defended senior Tory campaigner and former campaign manager today, Lynton Crosby. Mr Crosby has been accused of racism against Muslim voters.

Labour: Lynton Crosby racism allegations 'very serious'

Labour vice-chair Michael Dugher has said that allegations of racist remarks made by Lynton Crosby are "very serious".

He said they call into question the Prime Minister's decision to appoint Mr Crosby to run the Conservative election campaign in 2015.

These are very serious allegations, which call into question the Prime Minister's decision to appoint Lynton Crosby.

These allegations must be investigated and if they are true, David Cameron must condemn them.

Appointing the arch right-winger who ran the Tories' 2005 election campaign shows once again that David Cameron can't be the One Nation Prime Minister Britain needs.

– Michael Dugher, vice-chairman, Labour

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Tory Chairman confirms Boris strategist hire

Conservative Party Chairman Grant Shapps has confirmed the strategist behind Boris Johnson's electoral successes - Lynton Crosby - will begin working as a part-time consultant "campaign manager" for the Party early next year.

Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps
Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps Credit: David Jones/PA Wire

"This is a serious campaigner. Lynton brings the kind of focus that's required to manage campaigns and we have a big job to do to explain what's going on", Mr Shapps told the BBC's Sunday Politics show.

"This country is in a global race. We need to be able to get out there, show that we can secure a brilliant future for Britain".

Mr Shapps said he had spoken to Mr Crosby about allegations of a racist outburst, who assured him that he had "no recollection of this at all".

Tweeters react to Boris strategist appointment

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Make no mistake - hiring Lynton Crosby is a sign a Tory weakness, not strength.

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If Lynton Crosby is given complete control over 2015 election strategy then balance of probability swings back to a Cameron 2nd term.

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@ed_miliband should be a very happy bunny today. Cameron appoints Lynton Crosby who ran the Howard campaign in '05. That worked well!

Report: Cameron's new strategist's 'racist' outburst

The Mail on Sunday has quoted a source suggesting that strategist Lynton Crosby told Boris Johnson to concentrate on traditional Tory voters instead of 'f****** Muslims'.

A spokesman for Mr Crosby told the newspaper that he had "absolutely no recollection" of using the phrase and said it was "mischievous" to suggest he was racist "in any way".

Johnson said: "I don't recognise this characterisation. He's the best campaign manager I've ever seen. The Conservative Party has done well to retain his services."

Conservative blogger praises 'Alpha Male' appointment

Tim Montgomerie, editor of Conservative Home, has praised the appointment of Boris Johnson's former strategeist Lynton Crosby by David Cameron.

He said:

[Crosby has] a good record of success and is perhaps the Alpha Male that Team Cameron has been missing since Andy Coulson exited.

Coming on top of the decision to target 20 Lib Dem MPs, it is a sign that Team Cameron is re-gearing for the kind of ambitious campaign that will be necessary to win a majority at the next election.

– Tim Montgomerie, editor of Conservative Home

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David Cameron recruits Boris Johnson strategist

Mayor of London Boris Johnson
Lynton Crosby was responsible for Boris Johnson's Mayor of London campaign Credit: David Jones/PA Wire/Press Association Images

David Cameron has recruited the strategist behind Boris Johnson's electoral successes to boost Tory prospects, Downing Street sources told The Sunday Times(£).

Lynton Crosby is reportedly set to start work within weeks as David Cameron seeks to expand his operation ahead of the next General Election.

The return of the figure is closely associated with the Tories' failed crime and immigration-centred 2005 campaign under Michael Howard has divided opinion in the party, according to the newspaper.

Lord Ashcroft warned that the appointment was a "recipe for... conflict and confusion".