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David Cameron's royal help

David Cameron's royal help

Legend has it that a young David Cameron waltzed into a job with the Conservative Party after a friendly intervention from an unnamed benefactor calling from Buckingham Palace.

Well, the legend seems to be true - though the effect was not what the mystery caller would have hoped for.

After the story was regurgitated in the Daily Telegraph's diary pages last week, an angry-sounding Lord Lexden, the deputy director of the Conservative Research Department from 1985-1997, has been moved to write a letter to the Telegraph today complaining that Cameron most certainly "did not get his first job at the CRD as a the result of 'an intervention from somebody based at Buckingham Palace'".

Instead, says Lexden, who took the call from the palace, the voice at the other end of the line sounded "far from happy at the prospect of Cameron" being employed by the Tories.  Lexden suggests that the discomfort in the caller's voice may have been due to the fact that the then Thatcher government had "outspoken critics in Royal circles."

As a result, says Lexden, the "call was counter productive", with Cameron forced to "overcome the suspiction and hostility that this curious intervention created". Which, of course, he duly did - perhaps much to the annoyance of the Tory-fearing caller from Buckingham Palace.