An internal debate is raging among grandees of Britain's Conservative Party in advance of the general election, which most political commentators expect prime minister Blair to call in May.

Those same commentators give the Conservatives scant chance of winning, with recent public opinion surveys ranking the party fifteen points behind the ruling New Labour administration.

Hence the Tories’ anguished debate. Should they waste funds on advertising in an election they have littler hope of winning? Or should they mount a campaign to claw back some of the votes lost to New Labour in the 1997 poll?

The former view is held by recently enobled Tory treasurer Lord Ashcroft, who believes that the Conservatives should not fritter their diminished funds on an election they are unlikely to win. Lord Bell, another Tory peer, whose day job is chairman of Chime Communications, is of the latter opinion.

As the debate continues, the party has launched a £1.5 million campaign through its incumbent shop, Newcastle-based Yellow M. In a hatchet job on New Labour’s broken election promises, one poster depicts a senior citizen proclaiming: “In 1997 I was mugged. I voted Labour.”

News Source: CampaignLive (UK)