June 12th, 2012

A Little Detail About Brown’s Witnesses

Guido has been looking through the “evidence” that the Prime Mentalist has provided to Leveson to back up his claim that he never threatened Rupert Murdoch in the now infamous “declaration of war” phone call in November 2009. Lots of noise has been made about Civil Servants supporting Brown’s version of events, but that is not quite true. Statements have been provided by various staffers who heard the call:

  • Stewart Wood – then Brown’s SpAd, now Lord Wood and Ed’s consigliere – a political appointment known to mop up and cover for Brown’s messes in the past. The Prime Mentalist was witnessed roughly pushing Wood, but he still denies it ever happened.
  • Gavin Kelly –  then deputy chief of staff and another political loyalist. Brown once grabbed him by the collar and said “they are out to get me”. Hardly a credible witness either.
  • David Muir – another political spinner.  Claims “Gordon would shout and be exasperated and angry about things” but covers for him adding “it was for the right reasons”.
  • Michael Dugher – yet another political spinner. Now and MP, but spent the dying days of the Brown government forcing the line. Old habits die hard.

The only non-political witness statement provided is from Simon Lewis, who was the PM’s Official Spokesman. The only civil servant Brown uses for back up was the only witness not to actually hear the call. He stresses that his statement relies on what he was told to brief to the press. Funny that…

UPDATE: A reliable Westminster watchers notes: “I think the contention from Murdoch is that there was a call in late September (just after the Sun came out), rather than in November which is the call people refer to.”


  1. 1
    Fax says:

    Gordon is a liar. But it doesn’t mean he lied about everything. Jimmy and Rupey are also liars.

    As for Guido – why does he always want to defend NI? Looking for a job?

  2. 2
    Sizzla says:

    Brown is a disgusting man with no sense of shame whose lies are so bold he rivals J K Rowling for Scottish fiction.

  3. 3
  4. 4
    Steve Miliband says:

    Pair of talentless Lefties

  5. 5
    Steve Miliband says:

    Although one makes millions from fiction, the other doesn’t

  6. 6
    Peter Grimes says:

    Only an habitual liar would get his cronies to provide affadavits!

    I hope Digger Murdoch has got recordings!

  7. 7
    Fawkes' gay icon says:

    Miranda?! Fettes Faggot, if you please!

  8. 8
    RBS says:

    Are you sure about that?

  9. 9
    Penfold says:

    Whow, what remarkable memories, such detailed comments.

    It brings to mind the old gag about policemen’s contemporaneous notes, being concocted in the canteen, over a cup of tea, to ensure that they were all singing from the same hymn sheet.

    These chaps really should join the Diplomatic Corps, where lying for one’s country is a core feature.

  10. 10
    Dave says:

    talking of fags, has anyone seen my beard’s children?

  11. 11

    Shock, horror, people who worked with Brown were the only witnesses. Guido where’s Murdoch’s evidence?

    We know Hunt lied, 163 pages worth of lying, when he told parliament they had everything?
    We know Cameron lied, he said that Hunt hadn’t broken the ministerial code.
    We know that Cameron and others are misleading bullshitters because they claim the senior civil servant they consulted gave the go ahead, oops didn’t they mention they hadn’t shown him all the emails and texts?

    I don’t like your political views but anyone who is in favour of free speech must keep NI as the major target; the biggest threat to free speech comes from those who abuse it.

    FYI Q&A tonight with David Davies about the government’s proposed attacks on internet freedom.

  12. 12
    wirespy says:

    Russian jobs, for Scottish MPs

  13. 13
    Barry says:

    I find it ironic that this Inquiry has to do with phone hacking, yet four people listened in on Brown’s call to Murdoch. Was the latter made aware that it was not a private call?

  14. 14
    Sick bag time says:

  15. 15
    Raving Loon says:

    Gordon brown is a national embarrassment, in keeping with Labour’s tradition of electing cretins as their leaders. Foot, Kinnock, Brown, Milliband.

    Blair was the one exception, but he was a war criminal, so hardly worth praising.

  16. 16
    Damp Squid says:

    Brown seems so at odds with the truth I reckon he is a psychopath.

  17. 17
    Tuk Tuk says:

    But unless Rupe can produce a recording then Gordon has got away with it. And now John Major on Oath has labled Rupe a Liar then Rupe could be in a spot of bother with the Lord Chief Justice Leveson..

  18. 18
    Jimmy says:

    When Ed Balls is Chancellor PM Brown will get his moment in the sun.

  19. 19
    Raving Loon says:

    3 explanations for NicholaJW’s comment:

    1) She has her nose firmly up the Brown’s backsides in the hope of getting something in return
    2) She doesn’t know what integrity, honesty and dignity mean
    3) She is bat-shit insane and needs to be committed

  20. 20
    Afghanistan Banana Stand says:

    Ms Brown: Gordon has NEVER acted with integrity, honesty and dignity. These simple basic traits are beyond him.

  21. 21

    It is strange how Simon Lewis says it was a private call that he as a civil servant was only party to official business. Then Brown’s spinners take the unusual step of asking the Lewis to officially report the contents of this private call to the Lobby Press to get their version of events out.

    It will not be the first or last time Brown will be accused of lying under oath. The travesty is that the award wining, Hot 100, Miliband Luvvie, Robert Jay QC fails to challenge embroidery when everyone else is aghast.

  22. 22
    Pants on Fire says:

    Sarah Brown must be proud at her husband’s audacity to lie morning, noon and night. It must take considerable willpower and energy to keep up the front.

  23. 23
    Felicity says:

    It means that GB could have made the call from his hotel at the Party Conference? Very clever of him saying all calls go through Downing Street. alternately he could have used someone else’s mobile. GB is clever enough to cover hsi tracks.

  24. 24
    My Little Pony says:

    It says it all about the sorry state of British politics that an MP is publicly praised for acting with honesty, integrity and dignity (although in Brown’s case that’s highly debatable), and when that MP’s wife declares in public that she’s ‘truly proud’ of him for apparently not slipping into default-MP mode of being a rotten conniving thieving little shit.

  25. 25
    Tweeting for Dummies says:

    It’s probably a Twitter badge of honour to have your Tweet retweetd by a “celebrity” tweeter and the easiest way to get the badge is to flatter the celebrity.

  26. 26
    Member of public says:

    I believe Murdoch in this instance, since there is no plausible reason why Murdoch would have manufactured this story.

    Brown has previous form on mendacity in any case, plus he lied about other aspects of his evidence to Leveson, including the briefing against Blair carried out by his minions!

  27. 27
    My Little Pony says:

    He’s worse than a psychopath. He’s a politician.

  28. 28
    Member of public says:

    So do I!

    Murdoch should sue Brown for slander and provide the evidence to back up his version of events.

  29. 29
    Legal Crook says:

    How could it be a private call, Brown stated on oath that ALL calls went through the Downing street switchboard and therefore logged. Brown says there is no record of such a call. Therefore if Lewis says there was such a call, then it had to be unlogged and private. This would make it another lie that Brown said under oath.

  30. 30
    Easily Fooled says:

    I was so touched to see Gordon and Sarah arriving together at Leveson yesterday, and leaving hand in hand. Such love and devotion. I don’t recall any other witnesses turning up at the enquiry with their loved ones. A tear came to my eye.

  31. 31
    Ed Militwit, PM in waiting, says:


  32. 32
    Ah! Monika says:

    ” And there is no evidence” x 10.

    If you are telling the truth this is not a phrase you would use.

  33. 33
    Brown's single digit IQ says:

    Or stupid enough to have thrown his own mobile at a wall.

  34. 34
    Peter Grimes says:

    It is also an old ZaNuLieBor game to muddy the waters by providing a rebuttal to something which hasn’t been alleged, in this case the content of various relatively innocuous phone calls, and try to get the world to believe it applied to the important phone call, in this case the ranting one!

    Fucking liars they all are!

  35. 35
    What defines a charity? says:

    How come stonewall has charity status? Is it not a political pressure group?

  36. 36
    Cynical Crocodile says:

    Mine too, but I’ve stopped laughing now.

  37. 37

    James O’Brien, on his liberal left show this morning said

    John Major – “refreshingly honest.”
    George Osborne – “comfortably dodged the bullets.”
    Gordon Brown – “Delusional”

  38. 38
    Anonymous says:

    Brown had his chance to shine when he had his hands on the various levers of power between 1997 and 2010.

    The result speaks for itself.

  39. 39
    Archbishop Rowan Williams says:

    Anyone who takes it up the bum against a stonewall is deserving of AIDS not charity.

  40. 40
    call me dave says:

    All hail the fabian society, the purveyors of the purist form of marxism.

    Only marxism can save the country

    pip pip

  41. 41

    He should really be in the sun now.

    In Corfu, or Benidorm maybe. Sitting on the beach in the sunshine. Sipping bottled water. Watching his kids play in the sea.
    Thinking about his time in office. And whether he might risking taking his suit jacket off.

  42. 42
    BBC Stefanny says:

    I thought Gordon came across rather well yesterday.

  43. 43
    Fawkes' gay icon says:

    talking of fags, has anyone seen my beard’s children?

  44. 44
    Damp Dave says:

    I say, that’s not terribly PC old chap. Are you a closet Youkipper?

  45. 45

    All calls to official numbers are monitored, SOP. Hence Cummings telling Gove he should use private email accounts and phones.

  46. 46
    The Angel of Dearth says:

    If you look closely, you’ll notice that Snotty McMental had actually handcúffed Sarah’s hand to his, so she couldn’t run away. And she’s wearing a lot of facial make-up to cover the bruises.

    After running from her children’s empty bedroom earlier that morning, running for the phone, she found a crudely scribbled note, in crayon, “If YeR waNNa seE yur KidZ agin, y’ll DO as i sAY! GB.”

    “Ps: I savE’d the wORlD”

  47. 47
    Tomorrow's Chip Wrapper says:

    Lord L won’t want to open this can of worms.. .it’s in the absence of any convincing evidence i.e. tape of conversation one person’s word against another. If Brown’s sticks to his version of events and Murdoch and Brook’s stick to theirs how can you judge it ?

    It’s just going to remain unsettled.Those that support Brown and Labour will believe Brown;those that believe that Murdoch is telling the truth will continue to believe him.

    To investigate or try to will just be a monumental waste of effort all round.

  48. 48

    Sarah loves him for hos honesty.

    Sarah Brown “Darling. Do my thighs look big in this skirt?”

    Gordon Brown [switch to default setting-whirr whirr-full on lie mode.] – No, of course not, Mrs S. Brown. Your thighs look very much unwalloping,non-cumbrous, dis-elephantine, to me. Thankyou.”

    Sarah Brown “My husband, my hero”

    Gordon Brown [thinks] ‘its your massive, mammoth fat arse that really sticks out’

  49. 49
    A Coincidence says:

    Well Nichola W@NicholaJW is a protected Tweeter, whatever that is. Google of find Nichola W ends up with this person. ” Experienced Mental Health Care Assistant and Escort. ” . I ain’t saying no more and it’s probably just a coincidence. In now way is this post meant to be defamatory to anyone in the solar system or the Milky Way


  50. 50
    nellnewman says:

    gordonbrown cut a very forlorn and disturbing figure yesterday. He’s 61 but his poorly worn face makes him look like 90. His body language made him look like nixon and his venom and bile , that were never far from the surface , showed what a bitter delusional man he is.

    Best if this man does not come into the public eye very much anymore. To see someone so embittered by their own disastrous mistakes that they are unable to lead a normal life is beyond sad.

  51. 51
    Jimmy says:

    If only there were some record of whether a telephone call was made between two numbers, because otherwise there will always remain this tiny blemish on Rupert’s reputation for integrity.

    Not at all desperate.

  52. 52

    “We know” pops up a lot in your rant – but the whole point is “we” know nothing of the sort – you have no evidence of either of them lying. But we have other parties evidence that contradicts McTwat’s evidence directly. And he is, like Bliar, a fucking mendacious, lying, two face traitor.

    Usual Socialist bollocks.

  53. 53
    Member of public says:

    What is not “unsettled” is that the lobby correspondents were universally aghast at Brown’s denial of briefing against Tony Blair!

    Brown has form! I believe Murdoch, not because I like him or his business, but because he was far and away a more credible witness than Brown!

  54. 54
    nellnewman says:

    I think those that support brown publicly know, like the rest of us, that he was more than economic with the truth.

    the only person who really believes is brown.

  55. 55
    The Devil says:

    I’m in the detail.

  56. 56
    anonymous says:

    I don’t mind Gordon getting it in the neck

    I do mind when the same doesn’t happen to Cameron – who, believe it or not is the current Prime Mentalist

  57. 57
    Nosferatu says:

    As a taxpayer I have to pay for Brown’s MP salary and pensions. As a consumer I don’t buy any Murdoch/News stuff.

  58. 58
    anonymous says:

    Dave thinks the peoople of this country are a charity – he gives away even more of our money than Brown

  59. 59
    Will they ever learn? says:

    I do wish MPs would not rush legislation through parliament as it only results in bad legislation with unforseen consequences and unexpectected interpretations by the judiciary.

    There are often some very good reasons why a person needs to remain anonymous and exposing their ID could put them in danger, out of work, in the public eye, etc.

  60. 60
    Engineer says:

    That just has to be a fake Jimmy. The real one isn’t that deluded.

  61. 61

    ‘I have also published all the advice that I have received from Ofcom and the OFT, together with correspondence between myself and News Corporation and a time line for the process I have followed, including details of all meetings I have held. I hope that hon. Members will have time to study these undertakings during the formal consultation that will start today. However, it may help if I outline the main points.’

    Jeremy Hunt, http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm110303/debtext/110303-0002.htm#11030362001133

    b. Ministers have a duty to Parliament to account,
    and be held to account, for the policies, decisions and
    actions of their departments and agencies;
    c. It is of paramount importance that Ministers give
    accurate and truthful information to Parliament,
    correcting any inadvertent error at the earliest
    opportunity. Ministers who knowingly mislead
    Parliament will be expected to offer their resignation to
    the Prime Minister;
    d. Ministers should be as open as possible with
    Parliament and the public, refusing to provide
    information only when disclosure would not be in the
    public interest which should be decided in accordance
    with the relevant statutes and the Freedom of
    Information Act 2000;
    e. Ministers should similarly require civil servants
    who give evidence before Parliamentary Committees on
    their behalf and under their direction to be as helpful as
    possible in providing accurate, truthful and full
    information in accordance with the duties and
    responsibilities of civil servants as set out in the Civil
    Service Code;
    f. Ministers must ensure that no conflict arises, or
    appears to arise,

    Ministerial code

    The prime minister said today that Gus O’Donnell, then his top civil servant, hadn’t been aware of the memo when he judged that Hunt could adjudicate fairly on the deal.


  62. 62
    Tay King-dePisse says:

    Said the Bishop to the actor.

  63. 63
    Po says:

    The England team visited an orphanage in Poland.

    “It’s heartbreaking to see their sad little faces with no hope” said Dariusz, age 6.

  64. 64
    A Bloke Of A Certain Age says:

    As any lawyer will tell you its entirely possible to deliberately mislead in answer to a question without actually lying for example when Clinton said ” I did not have SEX with THAT woman” , most people assumed he meant full sexual intercourse and not say oral sex, or that the woman he was refering to was MS Lewinsky when in fact “THAT” woman may have been a random woman passing by whom he saw out of the window at the time.
    These people are slippery buggers and require a good QC to absolutely nail down what the mean.
    When someone says THEY did not make THAT phone call, does that exclude someone else( a spad ?) making the call on their behalf before putting them online to begin the conversation?

    Remember that many of these witnesses have advance warning of what questions they will be asked and will have been “advised” on how best to answer them.
    Slippery buggers.

  65. 65
    Engineer says:

    Jimmy – I don’t comment much on this Leveson stuff because I think the whole thing a side-show from the matters that really affect the future ofthe UK and it’s people, and a lot of the stuff going on between NI, politicians and Police is politically motivated and nothing whatever to do with the greater good of the country.

    However – this needs a response. There are very few people to come out of all this with their ‘reputation for integrity’ unblemished, and certainly not most of the politicians involved, current or past.

  66. 66
    Anonymous says:

    Except JK Rowling is English.

  67. 67
    Anonymous says:

    In contrast to the ‘witnesses’ to a call in November, the testimony of Mandelson was clearly about a call on or just after 30 September. However when this was put to Brown as the final question by Rhodri Davies, his rant asking for evidence and denying the earlier call ignored the testimony Mandelson gave on oath.

  68. 68

    And your point is…. that he didn’t know about the memo, but you think he did. The clue is in the words “you think”.

    Evidence is that which we can prove to be true, not that which we believe to be true.

    But thanks for the fulsome if rather erroneous reply.

  69. 69
    Anonymous says:

    Russian spies for English MPs. Boaz

  70. 70
    Tay King-dePisse says:

    Tony Blair SHOULD do the “Miranda” bit, as in “you’ve a right to remain silent.”
    Oh, brave new world that has such a person in it! (Innit?)

  71. 71

    Sorry, I wouldn’t have given the details if I’d known you couldn’t read them.

  72. 72

    Either that or we’ve got Jimmy all wrong – he is really a True Blue Tory slipping into post-Brown ironic mode to get us all going?

  73. 73
    Gordon Brown ate my pension says:

    Thing is if someone is delusional as Brown is, is it not kinder to
    point this out rather than encourage him as Mrs Brown seems to do.

  74. 74
    Legal Crook says:

    Brown said that conversation did not take place, irrespective of how the call was arranged.

  75. 75
    Peter Grimes says:

    Brown deserves no sympathy until he snuffs it, the sooner the better.

  76. 76
    keredybretsa says:

    Mister Bbbbrrrroooon, wouldn’t know the truth if it bit him in the leg.

  77. 77
    Anonymous says:

    Yes but what conversation was Brown referring to, what exact words was he denieing when perhaps a very similar conversation did take place but with slightly different words ie where it isalleged he said ” I declare war on you” as opposed ” I am now at war with you ” kinda thing. Utterly pedantic I know but thats how these people think.
    Murdochs recollection may not be verbatim and thats enough for Brown to deny such a conversation took place.

  78. 78
    Jimmy says:

    Fair point, but Guido’s desperation to defend the digger in the face of all evidence I find strangely touching.

  79. 79
    Stuart says:

    Could the call have been to or from Sara’s phone? Jay will look at the texts to Watson on Sara’s phone. Will they find other evidence?

  80. 80

    Sorry I wouldn’t have bothered to read them if I’d known you wouldn’t understand my reply.

  81. 81
    Fish says:

    He did exactly that yesterday when confronted by Mandleson’s evidence (this was something the BBC chose not to show).

    Brown easily sidestepped what was being put to him (that seemingly he had actually discussed the phone call with Mandleson) in favour of criticising Murdoch for continuing to allege the phone call had taken place.

  82. 82

    But don’t let that upset your unswerving support for the two-faced, mendacious, lying traitors, as is your right.

  83. 83
    Fish says:

    I think that there’s a video somewhere of him greeting her with a shake of the hand. Another one for Gordon’s ‘top ten’

  84. 84
    Legal Crook says:

    Mr Jay has just backed off asking, after Miliband said he complained to Brown about McBride. They do not want to investigate if Brown was telling the truth.

  85. 85

    I’m up in the scenery.

  86. 86
    Fish says:

    Page 75, Line 1 onwards.


    Mandelson’s account differs significantly from Brown’s both in his book and in his testimony. The BBC never reported Mandleson’s appearance in its news bulletins.

    Brown was ‘stunned’ by the decision of Murdoch to switch sides – which is not what Brown would have had you believe yesterday.

    Page 76, Line 9 onwards, Mandleson does clearly refer to that phone call and it’s not the one that the witness statements that GF has dug out, refer to.

    Later in Mandleson’s evidence Murdoch is clearly not happy with the ‘declaration of war’.

    None of HM Press (or the BBC) have attempted to cross reference this evidence to help the reader / viewer form a judgement. No wonder their days are numbered.

  87. 87
    Engineer says:

    Oddly, I thought Murdoch senior came out of it rather well. Other NI big names, rather less so. Of the politicians, Gove enhanced his reputation, Osborne neutral, Brown (it must be said) did not enhance his.

  88. 88

    ‘And your point is…. that he didn’t know about the memo, but you think he did.’

    Not sure what that means but let’ see:

    We know that Cameron and others are misleading bullshitters because they claim the senior civil servant they consulted gave the go ahead, oops didn’t they mention they hadn’t shown him all the emails and texts?

    goes with

    The prime minister said today that Gus O’Donnell, then his top civil servant, hadn’t been aware of the memo when he judged that Hunt could adjudicate fairly on the deal.

    Now go and take your anger management class – next on my list is the correspondence I had with the BBC which dealt with the Tory allegations about Tom Baldwin; I think you’ll enjoy that.

  89. 89
    Older now though says:

    Actually, it is “lying abroad” for one’s country. You are doing a Brown by misquoting somebody else.

  90. 90
    Jimmy says:

    On the plotting stuff, Gordon’s body language was awful. One very good reason for not lying is that he’s really bad at it. Murdoch does it much better.

  91. 91
    The General Public says:

    Whoever @NicholaJW is, it’s “Leveson” not “Levenson”.

    Pea-brained bint.

  92. 92
    Engineer says:

    I’m not sure that Murdoch senior did lie. Murdoch junior probably has, particularly about what he was told about phone hacking, and when; he’s lost his job for that.

    The problem I have with all the politics surrounding this – it being about Tory sleaze – is that the Tories did nothing that Labour didn’t also do to schmooze Murdoch; he said as much in his evidence – “It’s all part of the game”. And that, for me, is what makes the Labour attacks on NI so hypocritical.

    I think the likes of Watson are playing a very dangerous game. He won’t destroy NI. He might put it on the back foot for a bit, but that’s all. In doing so, he’ll piss off a lot of working journalists, and they’ll be around long after the Digger is six feet under.

  93. 93
    Purpleline says:

    I hope Gordon Brown told Rupert that for data protection reasons, their call would be recorded or monitored by his minders. Maybe we could get Brown on breaking the data protection act. Similar to the tax evasion charge that done for that other gangster Al Capone. Ironic.

    Death is too good for that imbecile

  94. 94
    Jimmy says:

    First of all although Brown’s evidence on the plotting is disingenuous at least (even though it may literally be true) I believe Murdoch has simply concocted the September call, partly because it is implausible and partly because he would have been able to corroborate it if true and I’ve no doubt would have done had he been able.

    The tory line of course is that both parties are equally bad but have been unable to point to a single case of Murdosch getting anything at all from Labour. In fact I can’t think of any major decision which didn’t go against him. He’s got what he wanted from Flashman as he did from Thatcher. Major as we now learn was less obliging, which may explain a great deal.

  95. 95
    Engineer says:

    I don’t think Murdoch got anything directly from Thatcher. She operated a business-friendly government that took on Union excesses – Murdoch took full advantage of the prevailing climate. Thatcher didn’t operate those policies for Murdoch, she operated them because she believed them to be right for the country. I think that’s what explains a good deal. Murdoch ‘got nothing’ from Labour because their policies were not business-friendly, despite which his papers supported (more or less) the government of the day for many years.

    The difference in reaction of the two political parties, or at least some of the members of those parties, when NI shifted it’s political preference is, however, very telling. Of the two, I prefer the Conservative reaction, which seems far more mature. I suspect that Labour’s reaction may backfire on it in the longer term.

    We’ll have to see what the future brings.

  96. 96
    Jimmy says:

    She did several favours for him. The law was bent to allow him to buy the Times, and later Today, to enter the TV market in spite of losing the bid for the UK licence and then to form a monopoly, at the same time his commercial competitors were being undermined. Not so much busines friendly, as Murdoch friendly. Thatcher would not have put Sky under Ofcom, would not have blocked him from buying Man Utd. She invariably gave him what he wanted.

  97. 97
    Peter Grimes says:

    The only thing the Mad Jock comes across is his rocking horse.

  98. 98
    Engineer says:

    Your recollections differ from mine, Jimmy. Probably not surprising.

  99. 99
    Anonymous says:

    Brown was asked if the call could have been made from a hotel phone – he claimed that it could not have been…
    Hotels normally hold good records of calls made from rooms, for billing purposes.
    Perhaps the hotel used by Brown during the conference should be asked for the phone records.

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