EXCLUSIVE: Tory Strategy Chief Crosby to Retire after 2015, May Expect Knighthood for Victory
The Conservative Party's election strategist Lynton Crosby could be given a knighthood as a reward for his services to the party, as he prepares to bow out of Britain next year.
It is understood that the election guru, who has played a pivotal role in UK polls since 2005, is preparing to retire from campaigning after the general election in 2015.
The controversial Australian strategist, who has run campaigns for two Conservative party leaders and for Boris Johnson, the London Mayor, has made a fortune helping political parties, governments and opposition groups all over the world.
Now in his late fifties, he is said to be keen to spend more time with his family.
Insiders are speculating that if he masterminds a Conservative election victory in 2015, he could receive an official honour in recognition of his contribution to the party.
Publicly, the notoriously combative Crosby is likely to deny that he is preparing to hang up his boots. He could be tempted to return by an exceptional opportunity, such as if Boris Johnson, to whom he remains fiercely loyal, decides to run for the Conservative party leadership.
However, insiders have told Breitbart London he believes the battle to return David Cameron to Downing St will be his last major political fight.
A source close to the Australian said: “Lynton has made a lot of money and doesn’t need to continue at this pace. He’s ready to go home. He’s very fond of his kids and grandkids and would like to spend more time with them.”
But a spokesperson for Crosby Textor Fullbrook (CTF) told Breitbart London: "Any claim that he is about to retire is complete rubbish, as anyone who has ever met Lynton would know".
Crosby has been working for the Conservatives full time since the end of last year. He is on a £500,000 contract with the party to run their campaign. However, the real value of the deal is far higher, because his company, Crosby Textor Fullbrook, is also providing extensive private polling, an agreement rumoured to be worth seven figures.
He is facing an uphill battle to overturn a solid Labour lead. Despite dismal personal approval ratings for its leader Ed Miliband, the Labour Party has been between four and ten points ahead of the Conservatives for almost two years. Crosby has no track record of success at general elections in the UK, having failed to oust Tony Blair when he ran Michael Howard’s general election campaign in 2005.
However, he and his team pulled off an extraordinary victory in 2012 when they overturned a 19 point Labour lead in the London Mayoral elections, winning Johnson a second term. Crosby is widely credited for transforming Johnson – whose candidacy was not originally taken seriously by many in the Tory party leadership – into a massive electoral asset.
Under UK law, foreigners can be given honorary knighthood. The awards are conferred by the Queen, on the advice of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Earlier this month, Australia’s prime minister Tony Abbott took his country by surprise when he revealed that he had asked the Queen to reintroduce Australian knighthoods and damehoods. Australia abolished imperial honours in 1975, replacing them with an “Order of Australia” awards system designed to bolster national confidence and pride. A year later, knighthoods were re-introduced, but they were abandoned again in the early 1980s.
Abbott’s move has sparked a political backlash. When he appeared in parliament earlier this month, opposition leader Bill Shorten hummed the tune of “Rule Britannia,” prompting Abbott to complain to the Speaker.