After his story earlier in the week about pro-Israel lobby group BICOM, Guido was tipped that their CEO Lorna Fitzsimons, the former Labour MP, was in some serious trouble. He was tracking down an email that was accidentally sent out on Monday to some of BICOM’s media list instead of the intended recipients – the donors. Annoyingly Ephraim Hardcastle beat him to it this morning and reveals how Lorna blurted to the world that she has been:
“…liaising with BBC and Sky to ensure ‘the most objectively favourable line was taken…I briefed Jonathan Ford, the Financial Times leader writer for his upcoming leading article… BICOM had regular contact with the Editor at Large of Prospect magazine, David Goodhart, helping to inform him about the forthcoming UN vote on Palestinian statehood…”
We have put the whole email online here. It’s standard lobbyist boasting, but Guido imagines the FT editors will take a dim view of any sign of them being influenced by a PR operation. A BICOM source tried to play down the story as “mildly embarrassing”, but it was the comment given to the Mail that really tickled Guido: “A BICOM spokesman denies that Ms Fitzsimons is to lose her job.” If you have to say it…
It is clear that all is not well at BICOM. The cock-up has apparently gone down rather badly, with some wondering how long Fitzsimmons can cling on. Two respected spinners have recently moved on after very short stays at the organisation – the LibDem Ed Fordham lasted just a month as their public affairs chief, and soon to be Head of Press at the Department of Education, Gabriel Milland, just six weeks. What can you spot in such a short space of time to make you run for the hills like that?