The Telegraph is running a front page story tomorrow detailing a smear campaign by Number Ten against various Tory politicians. The story revolves around emails obtained by Guido Fawkes which show how the dirty tricks department of Number Ten have been running a Nixonian smear campaign designed to damage the reputation of senior Tory MPs and other figures on the right - your humble servant being one of them.
I was given to understand that the story was going to break in the Sunday papers, but it seems the Telegraph have stolen a march on their competitors and gone with what they knew - or thought they knew. One error - and it's a big one - comes in this paragraph...
The emails were sent by the unnamed adviser in January from a high-security Downing Street account and have been touted to newspapers, including this newspaper.
The Daily Telegraph decided against purchasing the emails. However, it was understood that at least one Sunday newspaper was poised to publish the embarrassing details. If the emails, which were originally sent to Derek Draper, a close friend of Lord Mandelson, who also runs an influential political blog, were obtained by a hitherto unidentified person hacking into the No 10 computer system or Mr Draper’s, the police could be called in to investigate. Mr Staines declined to tell The Daily Telegraph where they came from.
I know for a fact that no money has changed hands. Indeed, I just called Paul to verify that fact. He confirmed that no money is changing hands with regard to this story. He said: "Not a penny is changing hands. This is for pleasure, not profit."
Two weeks ago, on 27 March, I wrote THIS post in which I outlined my suspicions that Damian McBride, Gordon Brown's chief political, advisor had sent emails to Derek Draper in early February encouraging a smear campaign against me. I then submitted a Freedom of Information and DPA request to the Cabinet Office asking for details of any information they held on me and for details of any emails sent by Mr McBride relating to me. That FOI Request has been acknowledged by the Cabinet Office and is being processed.
This week, Derek Draper's Twitter Feed and any mention of him have been removed from the front page of Labour List. I wonder if that is in preparation for him being dropped altogether.
I await the details of the Sunday papers, but I would be very surprised if either Damian McBride or Derek Draper still had the same job titles on Monday.
UPDATE 00:15: Guido has the full story and accuses the Telegraph of mounting a Downing Street inspired spin operation. It looks like names will be named in the Sundays.
UPDATE 09.15: Dizzy uncovers the Red Rag website which Downing Street says doesn't exist.