Exclusive: Johann Hari Mails Back Orwell Prize

We are now hearing, as yet unconfirmed, that Johann Hari has returned his Orwell Prize.

In an envelope.

In the post. UPDATE: Delivered by courier.

With no note.

And no cheque…

The Orwell Prize will not confirm…

UPDATE:

Twenty minutes ago we put this story to Gavin Freeguard of the Media Standards Trust. Asked if Hari had returned the prize he said no.

Hari has admitted the whole thing. The fakery, being “David Rose”, the works. He is going to retrain, apologise and come back in 2012.

Absolute cowardice from the Indy. 

UPDATE II: Hari is apparently going to Columbia to study journalism. Pah.

UPDATE III: The Indy says: “The report on his conduct is a private one and will not be published”.

Rumour: Johann Hari Will Not Be Sacked

Word reaches Guido from someone who claims to be in the know – apparently Johann Hari won’t be sacked from the Indy. The statement will apparently be distributed simultaneously with Hari boarding a plane.

He is still set to lose the Orwell Prize after the committee unanimously voted to strip him of the award but delayed the announcement until after the Indy had completed their inquiry.

At this moment he must stress this is a rumour, but Guido is wondering where Johann might be off to…

Presumably not Dubai again

Make Your Mind Up Time

Bad news for those supporting of a Palestinian State – The Palestine Liberation Organisation’s ambassador to the US said yesterday that the planned state should be free of Jews. Can any historians out there remind us of the last state to proclaim such an idea?

Only two Tory MPs are signed up to the EDM supporting the state and the debate is raging in the Foreign Office about whether the UK should or should not vote in favour Palestinian Statehood at the UN in a few weeks time This should make that decision a little easier…

Punjabi Paper Mocking Sharma

Des Pardes, the UK’s most popular Punjabi newspaper are sticking it to Ealing MP Virendra Sharma and his dodgy £5,000 donation from the Indian government. As Guido reported yesterday, the Electoral Commission are on the case. Funnily enough Sharma isn’t willing to talk to Guido on the phone. Something to hide perhaps?

Ed tries a joke at PMQs:

“The Chancellor has lashed himself to the mast… not for the first time perhaps.”

PMQs LIVE: Don’t Mention the Economy Edition

Indy Exposes Very Little

This morning’s Indy front page looked better than the usual polar-bear-on-a-melting-ice-cap stories, it promised exposure of 8 years of dirty work for Fleet Street by a blagging private eye, Stephen Whittamore. We actually learn nothing really new from the article. Despite having access to the Information Commissioner’s Operation Motorman files, Ian Burrell and Mark Olden don’t name a single journalist shown to have commissioned a “blagging” – the procuring of information illegally.

Journalists face two years jail time for each offence. Some 389 journalists were identified by Operation Motorman. None are named by this lamest of lame investigations to ever make a front page. Chris Bryant MP says they are not being named for legal reasons. You will note how he never mentions Andy Coulson. This is absolutely ridiculous, The Telegraph published the evidence of MPs wrong doing which led to arrests and jailings of MPs. Why won’t the Indy publish the evidence of journalists wrong doing? Be in no doubt, when Guido gets the files, he’ll publish them all, naming and shaming…

See also: The Met Widens Net

Cam Euro Sham Fears

How’s this for a conspiracy theory? Monday’s meeting of over 120 Eurosceptic Tory MPs has certainly got chins wagging and it’s still getting column inches this morning, two days later. It’s an sizeable junk of the parliamentary party and tough for the Dave to punish given that it consists of the majority of his new intake. The operation is being fronted by George Eustice, which provides the perfect media hook of “Dave’s former Press Secretary” and also the fact that he is a former UKIP candidate is music to the ears of the Tory right. It’s also where alarm bells are going off with more than one MP…

The theory goes that Eustice wouldn’t do anything without at least a discreet nod from the top, and how much the grouping is endorsed is the topic of much debate. The “Dave hates Europe really” argument is long dead – actions speak louder than words, but a fair few of the more senior sceptics are highly suspicious that this group has been put together to stop other more aggressive and louder blocs being formed. By maintaining an element of control over this new, large, awkward squad, the Prime Minister can ultimately ignore it. The meeting was raised in Cabinet yesterday, so we shall see…



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