UK Labour leader Ed Miliband embarrassed by U.S. adviser's gaffe

Reuters News
Posted: May 16, 2014 9:30 AM

LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. political adviser David Axelrod spelt British opposition leader Ed Miliband's surname wrongly in a Tweet on Friday erroneously linking to a spoof account that pokes fun at his new client instead.

The gaffe, which came down to Axelrod, a former adviser to President Barack Obama, putting an extra 'l' in the Labour party leader's surname, delighted British Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative party who sought to make political capital from the mistake.

"Labour's latest guru @davidaxelrod gets Ed Miliband's name wrong in tweet - DOH! £300k (300,000 pounds) a year for this?," the party's central office wrote in a Tweet, mischievously asking whether Axelrod had actually met the real Miliband.

Axelrod, who swiftly fixed the spelling mistake, has been in London meeting Miliband and the Labour party for the first time since being hired by them to offer strategic advice ahead of a national election next year.

To compound Miliband's discomfort, the former Obama adviser unwittingly linked to a spoof account on Twitter which mocks the real Miliband and once included a false announcement of his resignation.

Miliband, who is hoping to win local and European elections next week and next year's national election, was asked what he made of Axelrod's error in an interview.

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"That's the perils of Twitter. I've been the victim of bad tweeting myself. That's the kind of thing that happens," Miliband told BBC radio.

The incident comes at a difficult time for Miliband after the Conservatives overhauled his party's lead in the opinion polls for the first time in more than two years earlier this month, shifting the media's focus onto his leadership skills.

Cameron's Conservatives have also hired a former Obama adviser - Jim Messina.

(Reporting by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge)