Howard appoints Australian election supremo

Last updated at 14:19 19 October 2004

The man who helped steer Australia's premier to four straight poll victories has been named today as the head of the Tories' general election campaign.

Tory leader Michael Howard has appointed Australian Lynton Crosby as the party's general election campaign director.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard has described him as "the most outstanding political professional I have worked with in my 30 years of politics".

Mr Crosby was deputy campaign director of the Liberal Party of Australia in Mr Howard's first election victory in 1996. He was national campaign director for his second and third victories.

His firm was responsible for the polling and research in his fourth victory earlier this month.

He will effectively go head-to-head with Labour's new general election chief Alan Milburn.

Mr Howard said: "I have known Lynton for almost 10 years and am delighted that we will have the benefit of his professional expertise in the run up to the general election."

Mr Crosby said: "Throughout my friendship with Michael I have seen first hand someone who is direct, means what he says, and has the determination to get the job done - not just to talk."