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M&C Saatchi senior partners to help Tory party

LONDON - Senior partners at M&C Saatchi are in talks with David Cameron's Conservative Party about working informally on a possible election campaign, after retained agency Karmarama rejected the chance.

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Karmarama confirmed it rejected the chance to create a General Election campaign for Cameron's Tory party, with the prospect of an autumn election being talked up again as the Labour Party holds its conference in Bournemouth this week. WCRS was also reported to have been approached and similarly turned down the chance, but denied this was the case.

Some Labour Party advisers believe Prime Minister Gordon Brown should launch a surprise election campaign because Labour leads by eight points in the polls.

Karmarama already works for the Tories, having been appointed last year to handle the advertising for a range of social issues, such as warning young people of the dangers of getting into debt. This role will not be affected.

It is unclear whether Lord Saatchi, the M&C Saatchi chairman, will be involved in the campaign. M&C Saatchi fell out with the party two years ago over a reported £2.5m bill to Conservative Party for work, including the disastrous General Election campaign, done while Lord Saatchi was party chairman.

In the last General Election in 2005, M&C Saatchi and its sister agency the Immediate Sales Company worked for the Conservatives. Lord Saatchi has worked on the party's victories between 1979 and 1992.

Anna-Maren Ashford, head of brand communications at the Conservative Party, said: "We have not appointed a creative agency. We are however talking to a number of agencies. We also continue to work with Karmarama with whom we have an established relationship."

Less than two weeks ago, Saatchi & Saatchi was appointed to handle the Labour Party's ad account. The Saatchis name was linked with Conservatism for years, although the agency resigned the account in 1987, having created the famous "Labour isn't working" ad that helped to bring Margaret Thatcher to power in 1979.

The Tories' 2005 election campaign was handled by Mike Moszynski at The Immediate Sales Company, a subsidiary of M&C Saatchi. M&C Saatchi also created ad campaigns for the 1992 and 1997 General Elections.

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