Guido Fawkes smear letter against Labour MP collapses

3:19 pm - March 11th 2013

by Sunny Hundal    

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Just a few weeks ago, in February of this year, Guido Fawkes ran a story on his blog titled ‘Labour MP Reported Over Cash Questions Concern‘.

The blog-post included an apparently genuine letter that stated that Tory MP John Glen had reported Labour MP Phil Wilson to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner.

Except, the letter was never sent. Guido Fawkes didn’t bother verifying the claims, and nor ask the Conservative MP in question.

The story has completely fallen apart, as the Northern Echo reports today:

A “SLEAZE” complaint against a North-East MP has collapsed amid evidence of Conservative dirty tricks.

A Tory backbencher admitted the complaint was cooked up for him by Conservative headquarters and refused to submit it to parliament’s watchdog.

John Glen, the Salisbury MP, also apologised personally to the MP concerned, Sedgefield’s Phil Wilson – apparently agreeing there was no case to answer.

So CCHQ cooked up the complaint and sent it to ‘anti-establishment’ blogger Guido Fawkes, who pliantly ran the smear campaign without checking whether he was being used for someone else’s agenda.

The Northern Echo reports that no complaint was submitted, and that the Tory backbencher had not even seen the contents of the letter before it appeared on the Guido Fawkes site.

How embarrassing for Westminster’s Biggest Bullshit Artist, who was recently caught claiming exclusives for stories that were broken by others.

(hat-tip to Rob Merrick)

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments

1. Gavin Saunders

Haha!”Guido Fawkes”what a star…

I note that the “bit that isn’t true” is that there was no complaint submitted, not that the Labour MP in question hasn’t taken Hitachi’s money. I hope someone else looks into this.

Surely the big story is whether the Lab politician took £10k from Hitachi….

If someone submits a complaint to the Parliamentary Standards’ Comissioners then they will look into it. As yet that hasn’t happened.

5. white trash

Lol, what do you expect from someone claiming to be simultaneously a “libertarian” and a “roman catholic”.

The man’s an oxymoron!

God I hate Guido Fawkes’ Blog – really pisses me off, how can it possibly be the most popular political blog or whatever? It just regurgitates news stories and other snip bits – plus the commenters are never sincere…

There’s absolutely nothing ‘anti-establishment’ about Guido Fawkes. When he visits parliament, he’s more likely to have a nice cosy chat and a G&T with it than blow it up.

8. Uncle Satan

@ White Trash 5

The man’s an oxymoron!

No need to bother with the ‘oxy’ bit – plain old ‘moron’ will do :-).

9. white trash

Yeah, Tom’s right, and Martin (comment 5 on the Westminster’s Biggest Bullist Artist thread) Gweedo’s always been hand-in-glove with his top drawer cronies since back in the day. His blog’s a useful sounding board for and gee-up from the ultra-libs who are forever pushing the Tories to go more extreme, from both the inside and the outside (ukip types). Kind of like the Tory equivalent of Militant, Bennites and the rest who always push Labour to make themselves less electable.

Hilarious! And then when they get inevitably slapped back at the polls they always whinge “It’s because the party’s policies weren’t left/right wing enough”, totally failing to see the point that most voters are pretty middle of the road and want so-called “left” policies on things like the NHS, for example, and more so-called “right” policies on immigration or law and order.

And as for Gweedo’s commenters, there seem to be a hell of a lot of them sound like public schoolboy sixth formers with no experience or understanding of the real world.

10. Robspierre

Guido .. you are a card!

Oh .. sorry .. I meant “An arse”.

Yes, that’s it .. an arse.

God I hate Guido Fawkes’ Blog – really pisses me off, how can it possibly be the most popular political blog or whatever? It just regurgitates news stories and other snip bits – plus the commenters are never sincere…

Hate to break it to ya, but the Daily Mail is the most popular news website in the world as well.

Told you so. Years ago.

No’s 2 & 3. No the real story here is that CCHQ were trying to cook up a story using dirty tricks to malign another MP and deliberately ruin his career.

Obviously there is nothing to substantiate this story because no complaint was ever made.

What I hope is that virtually the entire cabinet a have got links to private health care companies and will benefit out of the contracts being awarded them by this government.

Also have you forgotten John Nash and his wife and their company Care UK, donating £22,000 to Andrew Lansley’s office?

@ Gracie
Alternatively the story is that John Glen refused to send the letter.

@ Cylux #11

Are they popular because of their political views or is it because they fill their online ‘newspaper’ with semi-naked women and celebrity gossip?

At what point will we all be shocked and find out the TPA are a Tory front and should not be allowed to comment as an ‘independent’ body ?

Tories telling lies? Amazing!

“I hope someone else looks into this.”

If only there were some sort of register where bloodhounds like you could look these things up.

The depressing thing about this (and others) is that was obvious to a five year old on first reading that the story was crap, but it’s immediately followed by comments from 500 human guppy fish convinced it’s the biggest scoop since Watergate.

Buy / Sell all items at world’s largest 2nd Hand shop with 100% delivery guarantee.

20. Chaise Guevara

I’m no fan of Guido, Sunny, but I think in focusing on him you’re missing the people we should really be looking at, i.e. those who created the smear in the first place.

I’m honestly not trying to be a smart-arse here, but if Labour press office sent you a letter claimed to be from one of their own that made, say, George Osborne look bad, would you hold off on publishing it until you’d spoken to the alleged source? And would you have done that before this all came out?

What Guido did isn’t good journalism, sure, but it’s not the biggest thing here.

lol @ Guido the silly fat fuck

Tom Pride @7:

When he started up, Labour were in, hence the anti-Parliamentarian imagery and rhetoric. Now his lads are in, it rings a bit hollow.

JoshC @15:

Scandal sells. Popularity is a measure of how well a channel delivers what the public is interested in: this isn’t and has never been what is in the public interest. Which is the problem I have with the BBC’s modern commercialism. It has brought a number of things I like to the market, but it has also removed the last remaining news organ in Britain which was more focussed on the news the public needs than on the gossip the public wants.

Chaise @20:

Actually, I think Sunny would be interested in second-sourcing, largely because the right-wing rage machine is so much more efficient than the left-wing one and LibCon’s been panned before when it got things wrong. The difference between the two is that Sunny is likely to care if he gets caught in an error, whereas one suspects that Guido knew it was a smear before he published; accuracy was never the point.

Secondly, yeah, absolutely the story here is about the parliamentarians and their shennanigans. But you can understand, when someone has been chasing one bloated vampire-tick around their scalp for so many years, why Sunny would enjoy a moment squashing it. Even if it always manages to resurrect itself.

@5. white trash

It is entirely possible to be both. I just means that you don’t seek to impose your beliefs on others and respect the right for others to practice the religion of their choice. It is a central premise of the libertarian argument that religion and government should have no interaction.

@17. Dan McCurry

That should read:

“Politicians telling lies? Amazing!”

Lets not pretend any politician in Westminister tells the truth.

25. Chaise Guevara

@ 22 Chris

Fair points on both.

Seems to be a lot of journalists on this site.

You can’t even stick to the published rules of the blog, self-regulation doesn’t work at any level.

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