David Cameron has recruited the right-wing strategist behind Boris Johnson’s ballot box successes to boost Conservative re-election prospects, Downing Street sources said.
Australian Lynton Crosby is reportedly set to start work within weeks as the Tory leader seeks to beef up his operation ahead of the next general election in 2015.
The return of the figure closely associated with the Tories’ failed crime and immigration-centred 2005 campaign has divided opinion in the party. Former deputy party chairman Lord Ashcroft warned that the man known as the “Wizard of Oz” for his success in Australian elections was a “recipe for conflict”.
But Mr Johnson, whose two successful mayoral campaigns were run by Mr Crosby, urged the Prime Minister to “break the piggy bank” to get him on board.