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Miliband 'not involved in smears'
Labour leader Ed Miliband has been forced to deny any involvement in attempts to smear opponents amid claims that "damaging" emails could have been sent by him to one of the key figures in a plot to attack senior Tories.
The potential link between Mr Miliband and Derek Draper, who was behind a proposed Labour-supporting political gossip website, is among the latest allegations in a memoir from Gordon Brown's former spin doctor.
The drip-feed of claims from Damian McBride threatens to overshadow the Labour Party conference despite Mr Miliband's efforts to seize the initiative by announcing he would scrap the "bedroom tax" if he wins the 2015 general election.
In the latest extracts from Mr McBride's memoir Power Trip, being serialised in the Daily Mail, the former member of the Brown inner circle suggests Mr Miliband could "have problems" if any emails to Mr Draper became public.
Labour sources denied that Mr Miliband had any involvement in the proposed Red Rag website, which ultimately brought about the downfall of Mr McBride, and the book does not suggest he was involved.
A spokesman for Mr Miliband said: "Ed was not involved in any plan to smear or spread lies about opponents. Any suggestion he was is totally untrue."
Mr McBride was forced to resign as Mr Brown's head of strategy in 2009 after he sent Mr Draper emails containing scurrilous gossip and lies about Conservative MPs as planning for Red Rag took shape.
Details of the Red Rag plan were revealed in leaked emails, and Mr McBride tells how he questioned Mr Draper about how it could have happened.
He quotes Mr Draper as saying he had been "extremely naive" with his password, which had been "pretty obvious".
Shadow chancellor Ed Balls, like Mr Miliband a member of the Brown inner circle during the New Labour years, admitted there was a "macho" style of politics within the party at the time, but denied knowing about Mr McBride's campaigns.