A fascinating excerpt from Paddy Ashdown's autobiography. After he admitted to an affair with his secretary:
Jane (his wife) received a string of most unpleasant letters and phone calls while, in my constituency, anonymous flyers were circulated purporting to be a message from an entirely mythical “love child”, saying I had abandoned her."All this made life for my family even more difficult and seriously undermined my self-confidence, too. That, it appears, was precisely what was supposed to happen – as we discovered after the election, when we learnt that some Tories had imported a group of US activists called “the Nerds”, whose job was to spread malign rumours and make unfounded personal accusations against senior opposition MPs."Perhaps this was done without official sanction from the top of the Conservative party. But after the election Kelvin MacKenzie, then editor of The Sun, revealed that at least one cabinet-level Tory minister had approached him seeking to retail scurrilous and untrue allegations against a number of senior opposition MPs.