Former Tory spinner Ed Staite looks set on trying to ruin the Sunday Times’ Saturday. Having smelt a rat when he met with the “Global Zenith” he has put an unedited version of events on his own website. His fisk of their email allegations is pretty pithy:
Dear Mr Staite,
We are preparing an article for publication in this weekend’s edition of The Sunday Times which will describe advice you gave to undercover reporters posing as wealth fund executives at a meeting in February.
They lied to meet me, took up at least a day of my time and, I assume filmed the whole thing while lying further as a way to attempt entrapment. I outlined a way to make a positive contribution to the political process instead of paying for influence as the journalists continually advocated.
The party will soon begin setting up new groups to form policy ahead of the next General Election, you said.
They will as is the natural process of politics.
This process will go on “behind Chinese Walls” in order to exclude Liberal Democrats.
The Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives are not the same party so naturally they have different policies. This is attempting to make me, and what I advocated, look underhand.
The groups can be bankrolled either with cash sponsorship or by paying for a secretariat. Funders are allowed to “join in the conversation” and “communicate their priorities” in order to influence the outcome.
As bankrolled is not in inverted commas and it is not something I’d say I assume I didn’t say it. Bankrolled is a word used by journalists to make a payment of any kind seem seedy. A policy making process should be a conversation and communicating priorities does not mean they are accepted.
You told the reporters they could even come up with their own idea for a policy group for the party in exchange for funding and suggested Government efficiencies as a good area.
A policy group would have to meet the aims of the Conservative Party only then would it be set up and a secretariat appointed. Government efficiencies are indeed a good idea as we face a massive structural deficit.
You said they could use their influence over such a group to benefit their business strategy by pushing for the sale of the Royal Mail and other assets.
Again I haven’t been quoted here and using the word “pushing” is suggesting something underhand.
Please respond by email with any comments that you wish to make on the above points by 6pm on Friday.
No, thank you. I have responded here on my blog.
I thought your name was Hayley.
UPDATE 1800: The Sunday Times have got in touch to dispute Staite’s version of events.