Last June ConHome reproduced this anonymous letter being circulated among Conservative MPs, purporting to come from a colleague complaining about the power of Team Cameron.
Its authenticity was in doubt, and another similar unsigned letter sent to Conservative MPs this morning – on House of Commons notepaper – makes me all the more convinced that a Labour dirty tricks operation is at work, with the latest letter containing class warrior attacks which simply don't ring true as coming from the pen of a Conservative.
A first letter circulated this morning states:
Things cannot go on like this. The attached memo explains why.
You may wish to join us by writing to Sir Michael Spicer, as Chairman of the 1922, to request an immediate poll."
There then follows an unsigned memo, headed "Letter to Colleagues", which begins:
"We wrote to you all last year. Since then our group has met a few times. Things have got worse, and are now critical."
It goes on to make the same complaints as the letter last year about Team Cameron:
"A key element in all this is Osborne… having another privileged person beside him undermines Cameron's own position. What's more Osborne is a megalomaniac. As if controlling the Treasury were not enough, he wants to run the election campaign, and is already planning how to take over from Cameron. All the press tell us that he and his office are the worst briefers against the rest of us."
"The rich kids with multi-million pound trust funds intend to sit there with the salary and pension of a cabinet minister while the rest of us struggle to pay our bills… This will boomerang on him."
"Cameron must remove Osborne and the whole clique of arrogant advisers and build a proper team of MPs, or he must accept that there is no confidence in him and how things are going. So we should replace the top two and their chums with a respected team based on colleagues such as Hague and Clarke."
"Unlike Labour, we have the mechanism. We should use it – now – otherwise we and the country will suffer the consequences later."
There then follow three appendices explaining procedures for holding a vote of "No confidence" in the party leader and running leadership elections.
As far as I am concerned, the notion that Conservative MPs would be thinking about trying to no confidence the party leader is complete and utter abject nonsense. I fear that political opponents are judging the Conservatives by their own new-found standards for committing political suicide.
But whilst the letter is clearly a black operation, it serves as a reminder that some are going to resort to dirty tricks during the forthcoming general election campaign and that people should be on their guard for such tactics.