Hard on the heels of Peter Oborne’s departure from the Telegraph has come the allegation from Labour MP Tom Watson that the paper may be not just be sitting on stories concerning HSBC, but that “They're sitting on a Tory HQ story too”. What this might be did not take long to surface: Chris Bryant had conversed with Matthew Holehouse of the Tel over lunch recently, and part of that conversation was mildly disturbing.
Tom Watson MP
“Chris said that Holehouse claimed he had been accidentally included in a series of email exchanges between senior figures at Conservative Central Office who were speculating about which Labour sitting MPs were paedophiles and how they should deploy this ‘information’” recalls Watson, who was not best pleased. Either CCHQ were undertaking a smear campaign, or were sitting on information that they should pass on to Police.
In any event, the paper’s executive editor Ben Clissett then responded to Watson: “Your letter also refers to Matthew Holehouse and emails he allegedly received from CCHQ. I understand this is a reference to a conversation he had over lunch with Chris Bryant MP which seems to have been rather over-interpreted. I believe it refers to correspondence involving senior Labour figures and the Paedophile Information Exchange”.
That quote, which is also disproved by Clissett’s confirmation, is not from Shapps’ letter, but it is equally untrue. What is also intriguing is that the Fawkes folks conclude “Let’s see the emails”. Why don’t they ask their pals? Staines’ tame gofer, the odious flannelled fool Henry Cole, is good friends with Mark Clarke, currently at CCHQ, and knows Shapps’ chief of staff. But you all know the answer to that one.
[UPDATE 1830 hours: Kevin Maguire, writing at the Staggers only last month, had the same story described by Tom Watson.
"The word is that a cell of David Cameron’s stormtroopers has been speculating which prominent Labour figures could be implicated in allegations of historic child abuse. I hear that an email list has been compiled, should a dirty trick be needed. But electronic messages are dangerous. The compilation of supposed paedophiles was, mutters a snout, inadvertently copied to a Daily Telegraph reporter. Cue panic at CCHQ".
That fits nicely with Holehouse's involvement, and Bryant's recollection. So now there are questions not only for Shapps and the Fawkes folks, but also for the dwindling band at the Tel. Someone has those emails, and knows their contents. Why are they keeping schtum, other than to protect the Tories? All answers gratefully received]