A mysterious top Tory official accused of secretly wielding ‘total control’ of the Government was once charged with threatening to kill a love rival.
Before he was cleared, Dougie Smith, 61, spent a week in prison after telling police he had bought a handgun to shoot his former lover’s new boyfriend.
The revelation comes as a bombshell book by Nadine Dorries – serialised in the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday from today – accuses Mr Smith of deploying the ‘dark arts’ to control the Tory party from the shadows for decades.
Despite holding huge sway under a succession of Conservative prime ministers, barely anything has been known about Mr Smith’s background. Until now just one photograph, which shows him in the 1990s, has ever been published of him online.
Top Tory official Dougie Smith – said to be part of ‘the movement’ controlling access to the Tory leadership – has finally been unmasked
Dougie Smith is married to Munira Munza, a former adviser to Boris Johnson who quit in 2022
Nadine Dorries claims a cabal of senior politicians and advisers known as ‘the movement’ are controlling the Tory leadership
But an investigation by this newspaper today finally unmasks Downing Street‘s so-called ‘invisible fixer’, with an exclusive new picture of the aide. In her explosive book, The Plot: The Political Assassination of Boris Johnson, Ms Dorries claims Mr Smith has controlled the selection of Tory MPs since 2017, with candidates forced to ‘sell their soul’ to him.
Mr Johnson in the book says Mr Smith ordered him to quit as PM, telling him over the phone: ‘If you don’t go, I’m going to take you down. I’ll finish you off’. Over the past two decades Mr Smith’s political power has steadily grown – almost completely hidden from the public glare.
By 2021 he and his wife Munira Mirza, a former adviser to Boris Johnson, had become known among Westminster insiders as ‘the most influential people you’ve never heard of’.
Mr Smith remains one of Rishi Sunak’s key No 10 aides – but mystery surrounds his exact job title and role.
He has never been listed as a special adviser and Ms Dorries’ book reports that while he has worked for the Tory party ‘for as long as anyone can remember … he appears on no staff list’.
Described as having a fiery temper – and prone to angry ‘meltdowns’ – Mr Smith is referred to by some Conservatives as ‘The Wolf’, after the gangland fixer in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction.
Until today only one picture existed of him online. But the Mail has unearthed an exclusive photograph taken of Mr Smith entering the back door of Downing Street in December 2021.
Dressed in a navy blue suit and with his phone pressed to his ear, he looks every inch the menacing political heavyweight.
Alongside this new image, documents from historical archives have built the most complete picture yet of one of the most powerful – and feared – men in Westminster.
Edinburgh-born Mr Smith’s political network is based around contacts he made during his days with the Federation of Conservative Students – a radical Right-wing group shut down by Lord [Norman] Tebbit in 1986 after a string of controversies.
Buried in the FCS files at Oxford University’s Bodleian Library is a small press clipping from 1990 about Mr Smith headlined: ‘Tory cleared of threat to kill.’ It details how he was accused of threatening to kill fellow Tory activist Toby Baxendale after he started dating Mr Smith’s ex-girlfriend, Catherine Keizner. West London Magistrates’ Court heard that Smith told police he ‘threatened to kill Mr Baxendale and had bought a handgun with which to shoot him’.
The court accepted his not guilty plea after his lawyer claimed he ‘had not meant to be taken seriously’. He agreed to be bound over to keep the peace for 18 months in the sum of £250.
On walking free, the then 28-year-old Mr Smith told reporters: ‘There was no truth whatsoever in any of the allegations. I have been found not guilty of the charge and there is no stain on my character. I am pleased that I have no criminal convictions.’
Court records show that Mr Smith was charged with threats to kill on May 24, 1990, and remanded in prison until June 1. A pre-trial medical report was conducted on him before he was bailed at his next hearing.
He was ordered not to contact Mr Baxendale, Ms Keizner, or Mr Baxendale’s mother, Jane Taylor. Mr Baxendale, 54, an entrepreneur who married Ms Keizner, also 54, in 1995, did not respond to a request to comment.
Iain Duncan Smith, former leader of the Conservatives, was reportedly brought down by the shadowy ‘movement’ within the party
Dougie Smith was a speechwriter under former Tory PM David Cameron. Sources said ‘nothing happens by accident’ in the party’s leadership
Boris Johnson with Michael Gove in 2016. Gove is said to ‘binds all the dark-arts people together’ within the Tory party
Mr Smith’s brush with the law followed his involvement in a number of controversial incidents at the FCS, a group best known for its ‘Hang Nelson Mandela’ posters and backing the Right-wing Contras in Nicaragua.
The Bodleian archives show Mr Smith was accused of writing and distributing a ‘guide to disrupting the NUS [National Union of Students] conference’ which called on supporters to ‘always join in Trotskyist demonstrations’. The guide told supporters to ‘throw things’ and ‘think about staging a mock fight’ to help bring down the ‘Marxist’ NUS.
Mr Smith was also involved in an extraordinary row with Tory top brass in 1985 when he was elected as vice-chairman of the FCS after falsely claiming he was a student of Napier College in Edinburgh.
A six-month investigation that went right to the top of the party revealed he had lied, but after his election was declared ‘null and void’ he simply found a loophole to get re-elected almost immediately.
Mr Smith was also linked to a gang of Tory activists who launched a night raid on a women’s peace camp in the 1980s. He was photographed with hardliners who had obtained a scarf stolen from the campaigners. An FCS contemporary said: ‘He should have been thrown out of the party then. It is extraordinary that he has managed to rise to where he is now.’
But Mr Smith’s various escapades during his twenties did not seemingly inhibit his political career. By 2003, Mr Smith and Mark MacGregor, another former leading member of the FCS, were the architects of a bid by then leader Iain Duncan Smith to rebrand the Conservative Party. In his spare time Mr Smith became a member of the so-called Aspinalls poker set and co-founded Fever Parties – an agency which organised exclusive sex parties for wealthy swingers in upmarket London locations.
He asked couples to submit photos and pay a fee of £50 to attend his events. When the ‘five-star’ orgies were exposed by a national newspaper he insisted that his political and private activities ‘don’t overlap’ and hailed his clients as ‘the SAS of sex’.
In her book, one source tells Ms Dorries that Mr Smith, who was a speechwriter under David Cameron, now exerts huge control over the Tory party because for the past two general elections he has overseen the selection of Conservative MPs.
A source told the former MP: ‘Dougie is a genius at how to manipulate Conservative associations.
‘He’s really good at it; he gets MPs into seats and then they become so grateful to him that he controls them.’
Another said: ‘You have to sell your soul to Dougie, but he will get you a seat.’
One of Ms Dorries’ sources claimed Mr Smith ‘has total control over government, and hardly anyone has ever heard of him or knows who he is’.
Ms Dorries writes that Mr Johnson wanted to sack Mr Smith, but was warned: ‘If you do, you won’t be able to deal with the disruption. Just leave him.’
She says Mr Smith eventually turned on Mr Johnson and demanded he quit.
She quotes Mr Johnson recalling an extraordinary phone call in which Mr Smith allegedly said: ‘I think you should go, you should stand down now and we may let you come back again one day.
‘You are poison, like Nixon. If you don’t go, I’m going to take you down. I’ll finish you off.’