Labour's Tom Baldwin ruffles feathers with plea to use phrase 'Tory-led Government'

Former Times journalist Tom Baldwin has ruffled the feathers of a few of his former colleagues in the press in his new job as director of communications for Labour leader Ed Milliband.

He has written to broadcasting executives including BBC director general Mark Thompson and BSkyB chief executive Jeremy Darroch to suggest “Tory-led Government” should be house-style for the current Government, rather than the Coalition.

In his letter, quoted by Joe Murphy in the Evening Standard, he says:

As you may have noticed, we have changed our language in recent weeks to avoid describing the Government as a coalition or a partnership of equals. We believe a more accurate description is that this is a Conservative-led government.

I understand that the phrase a ‘Tory-led government’is two words too long to be repeated on every occasion. But I also think that you are making a choice whenever you call it ‘the coalition”. When we were in power, no one was left in any doubt that our most unpopular decisions were those of a ‘Labour government”. The word ‘Coalition’is one that avoids party labels while also suggesting a degree of inter-party harmony and co-operation which is, day-by-day and split-by-split, being shown as false.

Unless Nick Boles gets his way, ‘the Coalition’will not be standing for election.

Can I suggest you at least vary your description of this Tory-led government. On some occasions, you might call it a Conservative-Liberal Democrat government. On others it might be just ‘the government”.

When you are talking about this government in a political context, I think it would be fairer to refer to it by reference to party labels.

Hence we now see Labour referring to the Conservative-led Government in its press statements. But somehow I can’t see it catching on, if anything I suspect his missive will encourage journalists to dig their heels on calling it the Coalition.

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