10 December 2011

Greg Smith admits Eric Pickles addressed Young Britons' Foundation but won't say if he met Bell Pottinger speaker

Following the post below and after an initial Picklesite coyness, Greg Smith has tweeted us that Eric Pickles did address YBF and that he spoke on his own. He still won't say, however, whether Pickles met the Bell Pottinger speaker.

Eric Pickles, Bell Pottinger, Greg Smith, Greg Hands, Mark Loveday and the Young Britons' Foundation

Local government supremo Eric Pickles may call Tory Hammersmith & Fulham council the apple of his eye but he has been surprisingly coy about admitting whether he will be at an ideological training camp this weekend run by, among others, H&F's own potty-mouthed Councillor Greg Smith.

The Young Britons' Foundation (YBF), styled a Tory "madrasah" (aka fundamentalist school) by right-wing commentators, is currently holding its annual Activist Training Conference. Mr Pickles is listed as speaking but for the past 11 days has been refusing to confirm his attendance to the Guardian Diary.

If he doesn't turn up, the Secretary of State will be sacrificing the opportunity to hobnob with fellow speaker Daniel Hamilton, who works for  lobbying firm Bell Pottinger, which has enjoyed such headlines this week as "Bell Pottinger: pressure on David Cameron to curb secret links with lobbyists", "Vicious dictatorship which Bell Pottinger was prepared to do business with","Wikipedia suspends accounts over Bell Pottinger claims" and "Rebekah Brooks? 'We helped choose her police station' says Bell Pottinger".

Hammersmith & Fulham Tories' role in this entertainment should not pass unrecognised. Director of campaigns at the Young Britons' Foundation is the above-mentioned Greg Smith, who is H&F's cabinet member for residents' services. On YBF's advisory board sits Cllr Mark Loveday, H&F's chief whip and cabinet member for strategy, and on its parliamentary council is Greg Hands, Tory MP for Chelsea & Fulham.

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