Leading members of the shadow cabinet have blamed David Cameron’s wife Samantha for jepoardising the party’s election hopes, after what Tories are calling “a bitter and sustained personal attack” on the Conservative leader.
Party officials claim that Mrs Cameron, who was briefed to give the press a positive impression of her husband, instead used the interview as an opportunity to find fault with everything he does.
David is “definitely not perfect”, Mrs Cameron said in an interview with ITV1’s Trevor McDonald, “and he has lots of very irritating habits such as being messy around the house”.
The diatribe continued, with Samantha, 38, insisting: “He loves cooking. But he makes a terrible mess. He is not very good at clearing up as he goes along. He is also not very good at picking up his clothes. He’s a terrible channel flicker.”
Sources inside the Conservatives are furious that Mrs Cameron’s private vendetta against her husband should have been given such a public airing.
“I watched the interview, and like everyone else, I was absolutely distraught,” said one leading source. “We told Samantha to put David in a positive light, and I made the mistake of believing that she would do so.
“Unfortunately, as soon as the camera switched on, she went off on her own agenda. I must say that this is one of the most selfish, manipulative episodes that I’ve seen in a long, long time.”
Research by YouGov for The Sunday Times found the Conservatives’ lead narrowed from five points to four over the past week.
Meanwhile, ICM research for The Sunday Telegraph found the Tories’ advantage dipped by two points over the past month – to 38 per cent, compared with 31 per cent for Labour with many pointing the finger of blame squarely at Samantha Cameron’s selfishness.
“I would only like to say that I fully respect my wife’s right to say whatever she wishes and fully support her,” said David Cameron last night. “Having said that, it’s clear that she has cost me the election and I’ll be contacting my solicitors first thing in the morning.”