June 27th, 2012

PM’s Official Spokesman Misled Lobby About Guido Story
Damian McBride Confirms Truth of “Second Email” Scoop

Back in January 2007 around the time police were arresting Blair’s Downing Street aides over “Loans for Lordships”, Guido ran a story about a secret second unofficial email system in Downing Street used to discuss the sleazy trade in honours. The Lobby pack were very excited by this and followed it up by asking Tom Kelly the then Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman (PMOS) about it at the morning Lobby briefing on Friday, January 26. Tom Kelly explicitly denied the story:

Asked if there was any secret e-mail system in the Prime Minister’s Office, the PMOS said, as we had said last night, there was no secret e-mail system, there was full cooperation with the police, there was no e-mail as described on ITV news last night, and as we had said, the police had not asked us about any of these matters. Asked why the PMOS was now commenting on this investigation, the PMOS said this was so wrong it would have been totally misleading not to comment.

Asked if there had been any arrests of people in Downing Street, the PMOS said no. Asked if there were a separate e-mail address such as some using the letter X and some not, the PMOS said no. Asked if people had ‘Hotmail’ accounts at Downing Street, the PMOS said because of security access to such e-mails accounts was not allowed. The police had had full access to everything they wanted. The fallacy was that in someway Downing Street had not cooperated with the police, that was not true.

The following day Guido ran a follow-up disputing the Lobby briefing in no uncertain terms. Guido knew that Downing Street staffers had access to web based accounts from inside No. 10 because they were using them to leak to the blog – Guido had (to confirm authenticity) tracked the emails back to a source which matched the Internet Protocol address for Downing Street. The Lobby was divided as to whether to believe Guido’s story or the PMOS.

At the next Lobby briefing on Monday, January 29 the Lobby again questioned the PMOS on the matter at length:

Put that we had “rubbished” any idea of alternative computer networks, but the Mail on Saturday and “Guido Fawkes” website had both claimed that they had evidence of alternative email networks in No10 that linked up to the Labour Party, the PMOS said that we stood by what we said to ITN. There was only one email system at No 10.

Asked if it would be possible for someone to “hop on” using a No 10 computer onto the Labour Party network, the PMOS said again that there was only one email system at No 10.

Asked further questions about the possibility of an external server, or the possibilities of sending Labour Party emails, and did only one system allow for more than one email address, the PMOS repeated that there was only one email system in No 10. As the PMOS said on Friday, people in No. 10 could not access hotmail, gmail etc because of security reasons, and he was not aware of anyone who had more than one email address.

Asked if people could send political emails from the No. 10 account, the PMOS replied that he was not going to get into the details of the system. The claim that was put to us was that there was more than one system, and there is not. There is only one, and the police have had access to everything that went through the system.

An absolutely explicit denial that there was any access to webmail or a second email system. After this Guido seems to recall a broadcast by the BBC’s Nick Robinson – at his most patronising – rubbishing Guido’s story as a crazy conspiracy theory. Guido demanded that the PMOS correct himself at the next Lobby briefing. No correction or apology was forthcoming.

This morning Damian McBride, a former Downing Street head of communications for the PM, recalled his first day moving into No. 10:

In hushed tones, I was shown the ‘stand-alone computer’ through which No10 staff could use personal email accounts which were otherwise blocked by the Downing Street servers. “We don’t discuss this publicly,” I was told, “we don’t want people going on about ‘second Downing Street email systems’”.

Never believe anything until it is officially denied…


111 Comments

  1. 1
    Jimmy says:

    Is this important?

    Like

    • 3

      Depends if you think the PMS should tell the truth or not.

      Like

      • 4
        The Labour Cliterati says:

        Truth is but a social construct and not subject to legitimate expectations

        Like

        • 105
          Cogito Dexter says:

          Could there be a police angle here? I.e. telling lies to a police investigation? Perverting the course of justice?

          Like

    • 10
      With the benefit of hindsight says:

      Would it not be wise to re-investigate all the cases that Yates of the Yard investigated?

      Like

      • 26
        Dobbie says:

        Some times I sits and thinks : you can’t trust no body – then I just sits..

        Like

        • 77
          Worzel Gummidge and The Troggs says:

          Well….let me explani now .. I’s from the West Coun’ry .

          So , much like thee , I sits and thinks but doI does it another way — thus :

          When I’s ‘ungry I eats . And when I’s thirsty I drinks . And when I’s tired I sleeps . And af’er I sleeps I wakes . And when I wakes Ii farts .
          And when i farts I larrrfs !!

          Like

      • 37
        Tooth fairy says:

        Sounds like a confession to perverting the course of justice. If the police asked for all emails and they deliberately hid the fact there was a second emailing system and did not disclose said emails, what is the difference to Rebekah and Charlie Brooks hiding and disposing of their laptop with dodgy emails??????

        The Police should reinvestigate and start arresting the last occupants x 2 of No 10 ie Blair and Brown

        Like

        • 45
          Quisling says:

          +1

          Like

        • 61
          Sir Aston Martin says:

          Very good point, Tooth Fairy, but then when did politicians and justice ever have any connection whatever?

          Like

          • Tooth fairy says:

            Isn’t Guido’s point that the official denials hid a communications system which was being used to hide questionable activities. Sounds like another can of worms that needs opening.

            Who is the first person going to be to ask for FOI on all communications done through this ‘stand alone’ computer, after all it was provided and run through public expense in a Government office?

            Like

          • Tooth fairy says:

            Oh and is that stand alone still in No 10????? Is it still being used?

            Like

          • Sir Aston Martin says:

            Agreed. This has the potential to be a tin-opener for said can, but don’t hold your breath because they’re all a bunch of crooks.

            Like

          • Tooth fairy says:

            Sir Aston I don’t disagree with at all. They all have a vested interest in covering up wrong doing.

            I wrote to my MP asking that he use his position to ask for a Police investigation into the obvious perjury that the Brown / Murdoch dispute highlighted. Did this MP / Privy councillor even bother to reply? No of course not, no wonder we are all so cynical of Politicians and their pronouncements.

            Like

    • 41
      Fake Blood says:

      Yes.

      Like

    • 44
      AC1 says:

      It obviously is as you try to rubbish it ASAP.

      you sound very concerned . good.

      Like

    • 59
      Backwoodsman says:

      Blimey, Jimmy, your handlers must a bit ‘frit’ by this one. Not like you to be so quick out of the blocks.

      Like

      • 78

        Is this important?
        Depends on your politics.

        If you’re a labour supporter and you discover the previously denied existence of a computer containing data showing that the PM was selling offices of state in order to finance his election campaign, then probably not.

        If it was a computer at news international where gossipy celebrity emails were viewed, your tribal politcs might consider that to be such an earth shattering discovery it would make Watergate look like an argument over an unpaid parking fine.

        Like

      • 94
        Jimmy says:

        Actually that was fake Jimmy, but I agree that was impressive.

        Like

    • 89

      Is your comment, or even existence, important?

      Like

      • 96
        Fish says:

        If Cameron was found to have a stand-alone computer system (in which he was free to communicate with, let’s say, the Murdochs) the BBC would be all over this by lunchtime.

        But all is quiet today. perhaps because the last Governement had used their resident BBC poodle (who answers to the name of Toenails) to rubbish the original story.

        I agree sounds like an attempt to pervert the course of justice. Who knew what?

        Like

    • 111
      Blowing Whistles says:

      It seems that – now ….. that the proverbial is ‘at last’ hitting the fan – even Damian McBride is trying to get his defence / excuses in first.

      McBride along with Brown and with all of those (Blair et al) who subjudgated the law – throughout the New Labour ‘Project’ era [shame about all the numbskull journos & lickspittals who revered and continue to revere Blair - who remain firmly "in denial" of their own wrongdoing and stupidity] are slowly being ‘found out and wanting’.

      The key to one of the best tenets / maxims / citations in law is:-

      “Ignorance of the law is no excuse”

      What is ironically better is that – such “ignorance” is so much less tolerable – from every single member of the Labour party who has been a “qualified member of the legal fraternity” – lawyers / barristers / QC’s etc. [Hoon, Straw, Harman - to mention a few]

      When legals lie and proclaim ignorance they should be facing far harsher punishments.

      Can the judiciary clean up the mess that they have created ‘in concert’ [legal term] and in a ‘conspiracy’ [legal term] with the marxists who have infiltrated Parliament and so many other organisations?

      Hence – why the Judiciary are also “on trial” at Leveson.

      Like

  2. 2
    Ha says:

    Naughty buggers

    Like

  3. 5
    RED ED - SON OF BROWN says:

    Can I jutht thay, I feel like Wayne Wooney. There was an own goal in front of me and I thcored !

    Like

  4. 6
    a non says:

    And Gordon only used the one phone. The one mobile?

    Like

  5. 8
    Lord Scalded Bollock says:

    Chloe Smith will give answers to this and many other question on Newsnight tonight.

    She is back by popular demand and is also available for weddings & barmitzvahs

    Like

  6. 9
    Aunty Matter says:

    Fucking hell, the Tories have ANOTHER woman on The Daily Politics who is doing a good impersonation of Chloe Smith.

    Are there ANY women in the tory party that can do a decent job?

    Like

  7. 11
    Terrible But True says:

    ‘a broadcast by the BBC’s Nick Robinson – at his most patronising – rubbishing Guido’s story as a crazy conspiracy theory.’

    The BBC seems awfully concerned with certain email accounts, mobiles and texts… and then awfully forgetful (to a point beyond ‘watertight oversight’ into defensive interference territory on behalf of a political party whose role they seem to feel batter adopted in full than simply as PR proxy) on others.

    When it suits.

    Why is that?

    Like

    • 30
      Durr... says:

      My support of the Beeb obviously excludes Robinson – he is a tit.
      The war reports from Jordan last night were (as always) bloody breathtaking.

      Like

  8. 12
    Steve Miliband says:

    But the PMOS may have thought he was telling the truth – maybe he was out of the loop?

    Like

    • 66
      Sir Aston Martin says:

      Yes, but he was Brown’s official spokesman, so what he personally thought or believed has nothing to do with it. Brown was speaking through him, and Brown should be investigated by the police.

      Like

  9. 14
    A Firm Pair Of Breasts says:

    Like we’d believe anything Damian McBride said………

    Like

  10. 16
    Compulsive viewing says:

    Brillo taking Wee Dougie to pieces is brillo.

    Like

  11. 17
    Ha says:

    Mcbride or PMOS ?

    Who to believe?

    Like

    • 82
      Anonymous says:

      None of them;all politicons are liars, especially when preparing their claims for expenses & allowances.

      Like

  12. 18
    McPoison says:

    Balls & Miliband knew nothing of this.

    Like

  13. 19
    Aunty Matter says:

    Prick Robinson spinning for Nu Liebore? Whatever next?

    Like

  14. 22
    toenails says:

    It shows I was correct.

    Like

  15. 23
    Laura Barnett says:

    The past participle of “mislead” is “misled”.

    Like

  16. 25
    I likes a good session down the pub says:

    Like

  17. 28
    Anonymous says:

    The police should now reopen the honours for cash investigation and examine Labour’s secret computer and who concealed it. Arrests and convictions to follow hopefully.

    Like

  18. 29
    Jimmy says:

    So you’re saying we should trust McBride?

    Like

    • 35
      Nom Dom Nom says:

      Well one of them is patently lying, question is which one.

      In any case even back then people could still email over 3G from their phones to their personal accounts making the use of proxy servers useless.

      Reminds me of Gordon Vs Rupert – who is telling the truth?

      Although starting to see a trend and it doesnt include Rupert or McBride

      Like

    • 95
      Anonymous says:

      Well, he’s one of your’s. That being so, you tell us whether he is trustworthy or not.

      Like

    • 97
      Fish says:

      Gordon publicly rubbished his no1 henchman, at the time and repeatedly, since. McBride was the man who did Brown’s bidding. Having been cut adrift, one day McBride will have his say.

      Like

  19. 33
    WunHungLo says:

    Will that will be the gift PC presented in socialist loyalty from the People’s Republic, no AV screening or Tempest EMR protection….so hand to get one into No 10

    Like

    • 103
      Voyce of Amerika says:

      One recalls the discovery of a radio transmitter hidden in an American crest which was presented by the Ruskies to the US amassador to Moscow and hung on his office wall for ages before being discovered. Early 1960s I think.

      Like

  20. 34
    tottenham chutzpah says:

    its life’s old rule:

    lie, steal & cheat – if that doesn’t solve it there’s always the truth!

    Like

  21. 39
    anonyMP says:

    But now we all have iPad’s with a £225+Vat data plan, so fuck the downing street servers.

    mwah mwah mwah

    Like

    • 62
      David Camoron says:

      Yes, but my £1.8 billion Super Snoopers’ System will monitor what you get up to! Haw haw!

      (So long as you don’t download the Covert browser with the Tor client from the iTunes store, rendering my £1.8 billion Super Snoopers’ System completely useless and a colossal waste of taxpayers’ money.)

      Toodle pip!

      Like

    • 83
      a non says:

      OK Times have changed and now most carry modern smart phones / pads allowing wash, spin and tumble dry but Guido is correct to question slurs against his name promoted in the past. Crying over spilled milk perhaps but important in the context of Socialist honesty on a variety of levels today.
      Who can question Integrity and security anymore when the fine meshed seive has become a collander. Even Larry sleeps on the job and an albatross or condor, let alone a carrier pigeon could depart from No 10 without his knowledge.
      Guido is in the unenviable position of revealing his sources should he wish to dislose the parallel No 10 IP address to any inquiry I feel, but then why waste time on a farce that has already ignored motorman.

      Like

  22. 40
    Plod says:

    Anyone up for a few charges of “perverting the course of justice?”

    Like

  23. 51
    Meanwhile in Sarah La La Land says:

    Like

    • 54
      Nom Dom Nom says:

      Blood sucker movie, why bother?

      Like

    • 56
      Steve Miliband says:

      Was she pissed when she tweeted this? ‘brillant’ ‘surnamewise’

      Shit, Beffany, I gotta go back to the shit hole in Fife in Schcotlund and pretend to be married to vat awful man Jordan.

      Like

    • 58
      Owain Glyndwr says:

      is she your invisble friend

      Like

    • 69
      annette curton says:

      Never thought about why you have a coffin in your Kirkcaldy cellar surrounded by jock soil, silly girl.

      Like

    • 72
      Tay King-dePisse says:

      Stoker! Vampire flick! My God– what are the odds?
      I’ll bet she’d invite Owen Jones to Raiders Of The Lost Ark.
      Or “Journalist Laurie” to Pennies From Heaven.
      Cherie to Blair Witch Project? (Dunno ’bout that one…)
      (Did Gordon take her to see Mrs Brown?)

      Like

    • 74
      Corrected for reality says:

      “I’ve been paid £500 to mention some film about vampires or something.”

      Like

  24. 52
    Julian the Wonderhorse says:

    Where does this leave Gordon Brown’s comments about him only calling and emailing Murdoch once, and never from a private phone / email? He was under oath when he said this, wasn’t he? he is the son of a manse, you know

    Like

  25. 55
    Owain Glyndwr says:

    sssssshhhh do not leveson cos that will be something else to ignore

    Like

  26. 65
    Aunty Matter says:

    So who paid the bill for this computer? Who bought it, who paid for the software on it and who paid the broadband bill? If the Tax payer and it was used for personal data or Labour party work we want our money back.

    Like

  27. 70
    PS/Sir Bonar Neville-K says:

    Small detail on the original stuff – Cabinet Office, No10, Treasury, others: have an extra secure subdomain xGSI.

    civil.servant@department.x.gsi.gov.uk
    civil.servant@department.gsi.gov.uk

    http://www.buyingsolutions.gov.uk/services/Communications/GSi/Newsroom/UsingGSitoemail/

    FWIW

    Like

  28. 73
    t5nel says:

    It is common place for gov’t offices that use GSI networked computers to have a separate PC on a ‘legacy’ ISDN or ADSL line. I have seen these myself at DoH and CPS on site visits whilst working for a large US based software vendor.

    They were frequently described as being necessary for doing ‘external’ Internet testing of their sites (which is a fair claim). In reality they were used for anything blocked by GSI or off the record. Most frequently this meant stuff like amazon, ebay and webmail!

    Like

    • 107
      The IT Crowd says:

      Very true. And it isn’t lying (just misleading) to state that ‘we only had one email system’. That doesn’t preclude having as many different accounts as you like for each person using it.

      Like

  29. 75
    Baron Hogwash says:

    Gordon at Leevy – all calls at number 10 were recorded and accounted for !
    Wonder if the secret computer had a secret Skype account or if there just happened to be a secret landline/mobile hidden under the desk.

    Like

    • 88

      Well..there was that special ‘Gordon’ telephone.
      The secret one he kept close in case Obama called.

      It was white with a red handset. Had a distinctive ‘bell clang’ ring and a long cord that allowed the large eyes to roll about as he pulled it along the carpet.

      Like

  30. 87

    Is it just me…

    … or is the current administration making the likes of Harman,Balls,Flint,Cooper,Burnham, Blears and friends, look like powerful, decisive, astute ministers in total command of their briefs.

    Like

    • 99
      anonemo says:

      There is only one member of the labour party in total command of their briefs. Step forward Chris Bryant.

      Like

  31. 100
    Spartacus says:

    All it takes is a laptop & a 3G dongle, or a not-particularly-smartphone and you can access your hotmail from anywhere. I’d guess providing this “standalone” computer would be designed to dissuade staff from such measures – and allow monitoring of such “unauthorized” email too. I’d love to see what else was installed on that computer ;-)

    Like

  32. 101
    Seth the pig farmer says:

    seems pretty clear to me that he was choosing his words very carefully. He only said that there was one email system, that there was no access to webmail etc over the number 10 network and the police had been given access to everything that they asked for.

    He explicity did not say that there was no other internet access outside the number 10 network from within number 10. I am sure that if plod had been told that there was a seperate stand alone pc that allowed web access from within nubmer 10 then he would be very interested.

    Deliberately witholding infomation that may assist police in their enquireies…..very serious.

    Like

  33. 108
    markreckons says:

    I think this is a significant story. The PM’s spokesman flat out lied. Repeatedly. If he lied about this so casually, how many other things did he lie about? And were the police misled about this second e-mail system? This could be very, very serious although now they’re no longer in power I suspect it wrongly will not be pursued.

    Like

  34. 109
    keredybretsa says:

    Never deny anxthing until it’s officialy believed.

    Like

  35. 110
    Onan The Rotarian says:

    McBride’s Latin school motto has its irony. ‘Give us understanding of right things’. They did a good job.

    Like


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