Craig Oliver is in full denial mode after former Telegraph editor Tony Gallagher went after him on the Today programme, suggesting that the Downing Street spin boss cited Leveson when trying to shut down the Maria Miller story:
“It is entirely false to suggest that I tried to threaten him with Leveson in any way. The conversation I had with him was about the inappropriate doorstepping of an elderly man (Maria Miller’s father).”
Gallagher has hinted to the Daily Politics that he has a tape. Craig emailed the show live to say “Tony is talking rubbish about me, and you can use that”.
This is getting serious…
UPDATE: Gallagher has hit back: “it’s almost as if Craig wants to make the story about him. It isn’t. He is a human shield for Miller. He adds “Incidentally, I note there is no denial coming from Jo Hindley.”
UPDATE II: No tape.
Usually Gita keeps in the background, hitting the front pages only when bungling immigration minister James Brokenshire claimed the rich, metropolitian elite get their nannies on the cheap because of mass immigration. It soon emerged that Gita had only been granted British citizenship after Samantha Cameron was named on the application as her employer…
Critics nevertheless will not be pleased to learn that Nepal-born Gita, having only got her passport in 2010, will soon be in receipt of maternity and child benefits.
The happy news means that the Downing Street nanny employment crisis is now becoming critical – George Osborne’s nanny is off as well…
Poor BBC News presenter Joanna Gosling is being made to read the Gwyneth Paltrow / Chris Martin split on loop on the BBC News Channel.
Surely they could have got her co-presenter to cover this particular story given her own current “conscious uncoupling” from Craig Oliver?
Despite Downing Street getting to choose the candidate for EU Commissioner, the European Parliament has to approve their pick. Guido understands Number 10 is preparing for the possibility that the PM’s first choice will be spiked by MEPs as revenge for the British vetoing the 2011 treaty. So Dave faces a dilemma. Does he put forward his first choice as normal and risk seeing them vetoed, or does he hold back who he actually wants at the risk of a decoy first nomination scraping through? Andrew Mitchell will be watching closely.
Downing Street’s failure to disclose to the public that Patrick Rock had resigned and been arrested for three weeks is causing some bother for the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesperson. At yesterday’s Lobby briefing Jean-Christophe Gray, or JC as he is affectionately known by hacks, was asked by lippy Mirror deputy political editor James Lyons: “Has anyone from Downing Street resigned or been arrested in the last 24 hours?” “No…”, a less than impressed JC sighed…
Following Guido’s story this morning that Patrick Rock was subject to a second sexual harassment complaint from a junior Downing Street staffer, Labour have written to Cabinet Secretary Jeremy Heywood asking:
- In total how many sexual harassment allegations have been made against Mr Rock, on what dates were they made, and in each case how were they dealt with and what was the outcome?
- Was there a formal process for dealing with the sexual harassment allegations against Mr Rock, and what was the involvement of the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, Ed Llewellyn, in that process?
- What other officials were involved? In your judgement, is it right for a political appointee to handle a sexual harassment complaint made by an official about another political appointee?
Firming up Labour sources this morning taking aim at Cameron’s chief of staff and Rock’s close friend, Ed Llewellyn. Don’t expect a reply any time soon…
Guido understands that Patrick Rock was the subject of two complaints from female staff, Downing Street claims there was only one complaint and it was dealt with properly. The first complaint was from a junior female Downing Street staffer and the second from a senior civil servant who is no longer in No. 10. The dismissal of the complaints is said to have led to disquiet amongst female staff who were uncomfortable with Rock.
Downing Street last night denied there was a second complaint, which might be technically true as the senior female civil servant is thought to have complained informally rather than via the formal civil service grievance procedures. Guido understands that the complaints were about inappropriate pestering rather than anything of a groping nature.
Labour are suspicious and have two questions about the matter, firstly “Did Number 10 deliberately wait to announce [Rock arrest] to let the Harriet Harman story run?” and pointedly given his closeness to Rock “Is Ed Llewellyn the right person to look at this?”