June 5th, 2014

Cabinet Office Covers Up Clegg’s Secret Farage Briefings

Readers will remember back in March when Guido broke the story that Nick Clegg had been accused of using civil service resources to prepare for his debates with Nigel Farage. At the time sources familiar with the situation reported that Clegg’s taxpayer funded preparation had strayed into party political territory. This would be a clear breach of the Ministerial Code of Conduct, which says any briefings received by ministers must be non-partisan. In the debates Clegg appeared as Leader of the Liberal Democrats…

In search for the truth, Guido requested a copy of Clegg’s preparation for the debates from the Cabinet Office under the Freedom of Information Act. Today, after some delay, the Cabinet Office have confirmed that they do possess the briefings Clegg received, but are refusing to release them despite admitting there is a public interest in doing so:

“There is a general public interest in disclosure of information and I recognise that openness in government may increase public trust in and engagement with the Government. However, these public interests have to be weighed against a stronger public interest of the workings of a private office.”

Clegg has the opportunity to clear his name and prove he did not use civil service resources on party political activity. If he is innocent, there is no loss to him or the Cabinet Office by releasing non-partisan briefing papers. For some reason however, they are not doing so. Those more cynical than Guido might suggest they have something to hide…


108 Comments

  1. 1
    C.O.Jones says:

    Of course they have something to hide. They are present day politicians.

  2. 2
    HenryV says:

    What a surprise, not.

  3. 3
    himindoors says:

    Seeing how badly prepared he was, perhaps not a bad thing? Let the snake eat it’s own tail

  4. 4
    Lord Mandarin of Satsuma Hall says:

    Aha, an establishment cover-up. Nothing to see, move along.

    Why not take this paid junket to the Malta Hilton instead of causing trouble? There’s a good boy.

  5. 5
    kebabmon says:

    What next secret courts?

  6. 6
    Paddy Power Politics says:

  7. 7
    Gerry Mandering says:

    Well it’s going to be a surprise later when the Newark result is in.

    Vote UKIP

  8. 8
    Grammar School Boy says:

    Er, oops, Calamity Clegg caught out yet again……

  9. 9
    a non says:

    Says a lot about the Civil Service and consequently Clegg’s failure.

  10. 10
    Barry the driver says:

    Fuck em all

  11. 11
    Phil S says:

    There must be a conflict. Civil Service resources must have been used. If they admit there are papers they must be government and not Lib Dem otherwise they would not be subject to FOI.

  12. 12
    Care to Comment Mrs Abbott? says:

  13. 13
    Anonymous says:

    Ministerial Code of Conduct breaches please include Gideon and Justine Green weekend excursion to the bilderbergers too

  14. 14
    Bus Pass Elvis Party says:

  15. 15
    Anon says:

    Ministerial Code of Conduct breaches please include Gideon and Justine Green weekend excursion to the bilderbergers too

  16. 16
    Morgan's Organ says:

    The Cabinet Office & all Whitehall mandarins are laughing in the faces of the electorate. They will protect their Brussels Valhalah to the death.

  17. 17
    Bus P@ss Elvis P@rty says:

  18. 18
    Bus P@ss Elvis P@rty to beat LibDems says:

  19. 19
    Purple Dogzzz says:

  20. 20
    They trear us with contempt says:

    Of course the cabinet office is hiding the inconvenient truth. They would release the papers else.

    Yet more LibLabCon trickery and contempt

  21. 21
    Irritable Sod says:

    Guido and co

    Keep up the good work of frightening the bejasus out of all politicians!

  22. 22
    Frank Keefe says:

    Cmon get of Cleggs back the man is as innocent as a Fox with chicken feathers stickng out of his mouth

  23. 23
    Rinka says:

    Woof Woof

  24. 24
    Nicked Legg says:

    I fear that UKIP have infiltrated Calamity’s private office, since the briefings they gave him were clearly disinformation:

    Sir Humphrey Stumblebum: ‘I say, DPM, why don’t you talk to this Farage fella about W.G. Grace playing for England…that’ll fox him’.

    Martin Licksemen CBE: ‘Or you could say that anyone voting UKIP is unpatriotic..’

    Clegg: ‘But I’m not a patriot..’

    Licksemen: ‘Of course’s you are not…nor are we…did I ever tell you how much I fancy you?

  25. 25
    Alex Salmond says:

    Clegg was relying on tractor stats provided by the civil service?
    No wonder he lost the debate.

  26. 26
    Up yer juncker says:

    Perhaps the flaws and weaknesses in the pro-EU case contained in the briefing notes prevent disclosure?

  27. 27
    Diana Abbott says:

    Obviously writ by some honkie us bluds cant spel

  28. 28
    Rickytshirt says:

    In what sense is the civil service private? We paid for these briefings, they should be made public.

    “However, these public interests have to be weighed against a stronger public interest of the workings of a private office.”

    This sentence doesn’t even make any sense to me. What does “public interest of the workings of a private office” mean??? I think the Cabinet Office should be pressed to give a more detailed response as to how they reached this decision.

  29. 29
    Persona non grata says:

    Yes they will win this. The $64,000 question is, by how many votes?

  30. 30
    Back to basics says:

    Super injunctions we cannot be trusted to even know exist

    Suppression of Chilcott information on illegal (in both jurisdictions) warmongering that we cannot be trusted to see.

    Terrorist trials that we cannot be trusted to know the contents of

    Judge led inquiries that exonerate PMs.

    An EU who’s response to unhappiness isn’t less of change direction. Just MORE of the same and more swiftly

    plus this and more besides.

    Our leaders really are a most unpleasant elite. And no election of the current contenders will change that one iota

  31. 31
    Fail says:

    The twat who told Clegg that only 7% of our laws were now made in Brussels needs sacking for incompetence.

  32. 32
    Bishop, David Laurence - Bus-Pass Elvis Party says:

    The guy in front me at a polling booth in Newark just farted. In front of a disgruntled, captive audience. Well played, sir.

  33. 33
    Mr Bingly says:

    EURO @ 1.24

    KEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRCHING

  34. 34
    Double Gloucester says:

    The reference is to the workings of a Minister’s Private Office: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_Secretary. Watch Yes Minister for more information.

  35. 35
    JH32624524523432 says:

    May as well be on a sign at Dover.

    Imagine the fucking palava, the puke-making ‘soul searching’, if someone sprayed ‘Blácks not welcome’ somewhere.

    Pavements are institutionally raciss, etc.

  36. 36
    Lootfor Rahman says:

    Fucking amateurs!

  37. 37
    pissed off voter says:

    Clegg? Innocent? lol

  38. 38
  39. 39
    Nick Clegg says:

    Voters Go To Polls In Newark By-Election. Difficult to choose between Bus Pass Elvis or Monster Raving Looney here.

    http://news.sky.com/story/1275709/voters-go-to-polls-in-newark-by-election

  40. 40
    Joe Public who will continue to Vote for UKIP ORG at May 2015 GE says:

    Aaaahh fancy that EUSSR Cloggy being shy & reluctant to reveal his
    mendacious manipulative behaviour for all to see……

    Never mind EUSSR Cloggy this last century fcuking dinosaur is
    due to be culled in public on Thursday 7 May 2015, the only
    question how many more of these parasites, pimps & leeches
    aka MPs will suffer the same fate (+650 would be great) as they
    all scramble around trying to defend there solid gold luxury
    debauch life styles & of course fully funded by the ignored
    Tax Payers………

  41. 41
    Dan Hodges says:

    Nick Clegg won the debates!

  42. 42
    Clegg lost before the debate started says:

    The EU construct keeping peace in Europe is a lie easily disproved.

    There is not one law or piece of legislation which has come out of Brussels which our own parliament couldn’t have introduced if it so wished.
    And the economic case for being in the EU is not all beer and skittles either.

    Be honest the EU construct is a 20th century solution to a mainland Europe 20th century problem.
    It’s the Europhiles who are stuck in the past.

  43. 43
    Like this says:

  44. 44
    Red on Red says:

  45. 45
    Reichsorganisationsleiter Rumpy von Pumpy unt Reichsorganisationsleiter Jean-Claude von Stuka says:

    Zer EUSSR Reichstag vill use any tool to ensure zer survival of zer fittest unt zer best puppeten vee hav!!!

    Zo silence!! . . . vee hav yor names!!!

  46. 46
    I wonder if she takes it up the jacksy? says:

    Me too!

  47. 47
    Dan Hodges Cat says:

    Oi Dan isn’t an arsehole he’s a C*nt

  48. 48
    Joe Public who will continue to Vote for UKIP ORG at May 2015 GE says:

    Think I will pass on that & have a large dump instead !!

    much more satisfying than viewing this crowd of t*ssers

    with Dumbleweed being his usual biased self……

    & of course they will all be trying to out do one & other

    in there smearing of UKIP………..

    as they all sit there smelling of Kake awaiting the by-election

    result……

  49. 49
    The Growler says:

    Fawkesy, Cleggie is already a dead man walking he will lose his seat, the LimpyDems are going to be just a rump of a parliamentary party after the GE, and importantly Cleggie, by most opinions lost the Fridge debate, so was Cleggie given duff info for the debate? At least Cleggie did not bottle out of the debate like Milli and Dave, known as the Great.

  50. 50
    Anonymous says:

    Don’t forget the hand picked audience of lefty activists posing as ordinary members of the public.

  51. 51
    Dan Hodges Cat says:

    Dan has signed photo’s of Blair stuck inside his jazz mags so when he gets caught wanking over them people think it’s soapy tits he’s looking at.

  52. 52
    Dat woomn ob kulla, she says:

    dem whitey am de scum – an’ de wraysus . . . gib me de Kentucky Minstrels any day ob de week

    an’ don yous forget me done got de bootywave!

  53. 53
    Chuck 'em out says:

    If civil servants have behaved badly or, even worse illegally, they should be removed from the public payroll. Any time before Friday will do.

  54. 54
    Chuck 'em out says:

    Cameron should demand the immediate resignations of the top four civil servants in each department – sans pensions.

    Pour encourager les autres, of course.

  55. 55
    GB2015 says:

    Ok by me, when can we start killing them?

  56. 56
    The Biased Bullshit Corpse says:

    Hand-on-heart . . . we never ever hand pick the audience! – we just take people as they come – don’t we boys and girls?

  57. 57
    John Bellingham says:

    Never heard of any of them. Are they world famous in Shepherd’s Bush?

  58. 58
    Fred the pensioner says:

    Since the vast majority of today’s senior civil servants were the early victims of Shirley Williams, I suspect you may well be right.

  59. 59
    Rickytshirt says:

    Thanks, DG. Makes much more sense now.

  60. 60
    Flaming Torches R Us says:

    The best people to investigate this calumny is obviously members of the Black Police Association.

  61. 61
    Flaming Torches R Us says:

    Judging by the blanket ignoring of this election by both Sky and BBC, I am beginning to wonder if we all have the right day?

  62. 62
    Flaming Torches R Us says:

    Been waiting in vain for that regular poster of the phrase “one up the bum, no harm done”. Has he buggered off to Malta for the week?

  63. 63
    Quean's Peach says:

    ‘Ello me old fruit!

  64. 64
    Flaming Torches R Us says:

    Can we have an extra half point for Owen?

  65. 65
    Vince says:

    Surely I was not involved in any plot today. Was I?

  66. 66
    Flaming Torches R Us says:

    Don’t forget that other little matter currently under a 100 year padlock.

  67. 67
    50 calories per sniff says:

    That’s called negative inflation in the EU.

  68. 68
    Calculating C*nt says:

    Nick Clegg is not the person he tries to portray to the public.

  69. 69
    still walking into darkness says:

    magna carta and the eight hundred years since have been airbrushed, the only surprise is that the sedition in blogs like this isn’t being clamped down on. Just a matter of time I suppose

  70. 70
    Anonymous says:

    Next time Nick, bin the briefing notes and ask for `idiot boards`!

  71. 71
    Madam La Guillotine says:

    They know where his bodies are buried. The prospect of removing a Premier Division Civil Servant are as likely as persuading Angela to endorse the appointment of the Sacred Norman to President of The European Commission. The only way is to remove their Life Support system as provided by the Premier Division of Politicians.
    In fact, nothing short of another Peasants’ Revolt followed by the execution of the whole political class a la French treatment of their Aristocracy could change things for the better.

  72. 72
    Does your dog bite? says:

    Not another tranny.

  73. 73
    Pub Landlord says:

    Are the Lib/Dims an out and out comedy party?! Again it’s only Scameron whose keeping Smegg from total oblivion.

  74. 74
    No 6 says:

    Gawd, it reminds me of a sixth form debating society where the most obnoxious students reign supreme, without any sense of just how absurd they are (mind you, that Isabel, ding dong).

  75. 75
    Is Cameron a Common Criminal? says:

    Cameron is known to fund the UAF to campaign against UKIP.

    That must be illegal too.

    Book the lot of ‘em.

  76. 76
    Jack Ketch. says:

    It will be worth noting how often Clegg has “urgent meetings” with notable figures in the EU mafia over the next ten months. I cannot see any juicy jobs being available in the private sector, possible a vacancy as Ambassador to The Democratic People’s Republic of Scotland would have arisen by May 2015.

  77. 77
  78. 78
    Jack Ketch. says:

    I can’t help thinking that he is a Westminster version of actor, Huge Grant–you know, that flustered, I’m-so-honest-and-really-decent (brush hair) act up front and a selfish little louche twister up the back.
    Sorry, I mean in private.

  79. 79

    ” However, these public interests have to be weighed against a stronger public interest of the workings of a private office.”

    In other words as I stated so e days ago on a similar matter the mandarins are saying

    Fcuk the FOI — it s WE who decide what or whether the plebeiretariat see !

  80. 80
    Jack Ketch. says:

    Jones is not a Journalist. He is a left-wing agitator who writes political doggerel in various newspapers. He does not report facts or even other people’s version of facts or make comparisons between different points of view, he is nothing more than a amateur PRO.

  81. 81

    Well … Diplock in The Six Counties has already signposted the roadmap !

  82. 82

    Mind you the bank of Mum and Dad must have money …one of them is actually sitting on a Chesterfield sofa .

    And you don t see many of them outside of St James’ clubland and the Cotswolds .

  83. 83

    i thought you would at the very least have given the Fenian his due — and put him first instead of last !

  84. 84
    Did someone have to read the briefing to Cleggy? says:

    But Nick has only just finished ‘Janet and John 2′ hasn’t he?

  85. 85
    Is there anyone dafter than thicko Clegg? says:

    We need a lollipop lady in our village.
    Oh, don’t apply Nick. You are an absolute car crash in your own right.

  86. 86
    Can I be a judge please? They'd let me out of Broadmoor on the days I'd be sitting, I'm sure says:

    ‘Mr Justice Nicol, a senior Old Bailey judge, ruled last month that the trial of the two men, who are only known as AB and CD, should be heard in camera and that the defendants remain anonymous.’

    A SENIOR judge? wtf

  87. 87
    Another pissed off voter (Hallam) says:

    Clegg? Intelligent? lol

  88. 88
    I ban everyone who disagrees with me says:

    You’re now banned from my Twitter feed.

  89. 89

    They are always up to no good

  90. 90
    Anonymous says:

    Could have been worse, he could have followed through and had to spoil his ballot paper.

  91. 91
    Anonymous says:

    You mean the stuff about events in a certain Scottish town at the north end of the M9?

  92. 92
    Anonymous says:

    Was always obvious without looking at the byline who wrote this piece – was never going to be Boris’s brown haired love child who was unfortunate enough to get the looks but not the brains.

  93. 93
    sasson says:

    sadly its worse than that. its more of a 1950’s solution to an 1860’s problem (french fear of a united Germany out producing them)

  94. 94
    BBC executive says:

    Look out for our in depth news night investigation on this!

  95. 95
    gildedtumbril says:

    The lying bastards have all got something to hide and always do.

  96. 96
    gildedtumbril says:

    I think you mean newshite.

  97. 97
    Jethro says:

    37 Tantalisingly, you tell us ‘well played’, but you don’t tell us what he played (apart, obvieusement, from ‘le piano des pauvres’): was it ‘The Ride of The Valkyries’? William Tell? ‘Sunrise’? The Toccata from Widor’s vth. Symphonie? ‘Air on a G-string’, perhaps? I only ask because… …

    There was a young man from Pendeen,
    Who tried to fart ‘God save the Queen';
    When he got to ‘victorious
    Happy, and glorious’,
    His pants were not fit to be seen.

  98. 98
    Jethro says:

    88 for ‘spoil’, read ‘improve’.

  99. 99
    Jethro - in the Cable Locker says:

    63 … All you’ve got to remember, is that you not only have no recollection of that Titus Oates, but never met him, or tem, as the case may be.
    Now, say after me, ‘I have no recollection of that Titus Oates…’ … … …

  100. 100
    Jethro errate & corrigenda says:

    96 … for ‘tem’, read ‘them’

  101. 101
    Jethro errate & corrigenda says:

    … ‘errata’, even!

  102. 102
    ron Vibbentrop says:

    Can’t wait for Putin to get here and shoot the lot of them.

  103. 103
    SIZE 15 CARBON FOOTPRINT says:

    So despite hours of briefings and coaching Farage still easily made him look the c-unt he is, priceless!

  104. 104
    carlo gambino says:

    ‘The six counties’ ????

    If you mean Northern Ireland, it’s actually a complete country.

    News just in.

  105. 105
    NE Frontiersman says:

    Please help me: is this a spoof? I just can’t tell. A regulator to protect us from regulators is mad enough to be true, but these nerds can’t be real…can they?

  106. 106
    carlo gambino says:

    Unlike the BBC’s 4,000 journalists.

    Sorry, should read…

    Unlike the BBC’s 4,000 ‘journalists”.

  107. 107
    Alas, Poor Albion says:

    Who are these kids? What are they doing on TV? Who cares? Anymore?

  108. 108
    John Tandy says:

    Yet more dishonesty from Westminster……


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