Murdoch aide exits Tory council post

Stelzer steamed at Conservative Party's comments

LONDON — A mere day after his appointment to the Conservative Party’s council of economic advisers (Daily Variety, Dec. 29), Irwin Stelzer, a senior aide to Rupert Murdoch, has resigned.

Stelzer’s about-face was prompted by the Tories’ inference that his appointment could serve as a bridge between the party and Murdoch.

Relations between News Corp.’s U.K. newspapers and the Conservatives have been strained since the last British general election in 1997.

In a angry letter to shadow chancellor Francis Maude, Stelzer said, “Your aides have seen fit to tell the press that my participation encourages them to believe that Mr. Murdoch is moving in the Tories’ direction.”

Stelzer said this view was incorrect, and described the Conservatives as “grasping at straws, an act not unknown to drowning men.”

Stelzer’s resignation comes at the same time as a stinging attack on the policies of Conservative leader William Hague by former prime minister John Major. Several prominent Conservatives have protested that the party has shifted too far to the right.

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