The Final Straw

Gary Gibbon points out that Miller was pushed after her PPS’s multi-vehicle pile up on Sky News. MacLeod went to pieces when confronted with her text message, revealed exclusively by Guido, citing a Leveson witch-hunt:

“I was told by one government source that Maria Miller’s PPS’s appearance on Sky News and her text message to Tory backbenchers saying the attacks on Maria Miller were a media witch-hunt were “the final straw.” This “should never have been said,” another government source said.”

The wheels were off by the time discipline had collapsed and anger led to leaking.

EXCLUSIVE: Miller Hits Back Claiming “Levesen” Smears

Once again Maria Miller has tried to use the threat of the post-Leveson age to shut down her expenses scandal. Mary Macleod, PPS to the fatally wounded Culture Secretary, today texted Tory MPs begging for support. Again Miller’s people have cited threats to press freedom. Mary Macleod said:

 

“I believe there is a media witch-hunt on Maria due to Levesen [sic]. How do you feel about it? Happy to answer any questions you may have. She would really appreciate your support. Many thanks Mary”

Too little too late, Guido fears.

Rich’s Monday Morning View

miller's tale480

Craig Oliver: “Gallagher is Talking Rubbish About Me”

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.

Putin’s Party Will Meet With Sir Brian Leveson Today

The Council of Europe has sent a delegation to the UK to monitor our “democracy”. Embarrassingly the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities feel the need to talk to our very own press-gagger. At 16:30 this afternoon Sir Brian Leveson will meet a representative from Putin’s party and a German socialist, who will no doubt love picking his brains. That’s right, the delegation consists of Mr Alexander Uss, the United Russia Chairman of the  Krasnoyarsk Regional Legislative Assembly and German Socialist Party Mayor of Rheine Angelika Kordfelder. Statutory legislation of the press has caught the eye of some interesting characters…

Non-Leveson-Compliant Sketch
(With Topless Counsel and Hot Tubs)

Sir Brian Leveson’s clever strategy with his committee appearance was to stand on the Fifth (see Quote of the Day).

For the first long sequence of answers to Tory questions he confined himself to variations of “Quod dixi, dixi.” In English, “Read the report, you lazy tossers!”

But he was happy to answer Labour’s Ben Bradshaw as though he was being paid by the word.

Labour heads nodded sagely as he repeated his owlish judicialisms, and a chorus of Core Participants in reserved seats (two thirds of the public seating) chuckled supportively.

Tory Conor Burns wished the Inquiry had never been constituted. The criminal law could have cleared up the evils complained of.

Tory Tracey Crouch struck a spark. The three existing media regulators all had a different definition of “public interest”. So, was it possible to design a regulatory regime without a single definition of this important principle?

We had got along for years without such a definition, Sir Brian observed.

Yes, but we’d also got on for years without a Leveson-compliant regulatory regime.

Sir Brian’s decision not to engage in the cage-fight of public debate started to look understandable. He’s not very good at it.

Philip Davies’ audience enjoyed his impression of examining magistrate with his full array of contemptuous insinuations, nasty innuendoes and (best of all) insolent incredulity. Sir Brian didn’t like it one little bit.

The details are too many for this sketch but the general idea was that their Bonking Barrister’s Crafty Counsel’s Plea was for More Sex, We’re Solicitors! And Brian, the innocent old booby was in it up to his apricots.

Sir Brian doesn’t realise how these things work. If politicians are given a stitch they’ll eventually make a net.

As for not adding any kind of gloss on his report: “I should like to think the general public is sufficiently sophisticated to know what the general issues are.”

Of course he’d also like to think the general public reads Le Monde, eats Sartre sandwiches and is saving up for a Chagal.

Kangaroo Court

Rolf Harris was in the dock this morning, He was bailed and indicated he will be pleading not guilty, but had nothing to say to the media on the way out.

The trial starts in two weeks…

Picture via Martin Brunt.

How Rolf’s Lawyers Used Leveson to Prevent Reporting
Lawyers Falsely Claimed Guido Scoop Was “Only Conjecture”

This is how Rolf’s lawyers Harbottle & Lewis tried to use the chilling effect of Leveson to prevent reporting of Rolf’s arrest (reference to Guido breaking the story in yellow). Lawyers disingenuously claimed news of arrest was conjecture:

harbottle-lewis-guido-mail-threat

Brian Sets CMS Committee Date

One for the diary.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Leveson Called to CMS Select Committee

John Whittingdale has called Brian to give evidence as a witness to his CMS select committee. According to the Sun he’s been kicking up a fuss about turning up, arguing that judges don’t have to explain their position to MPs. […]

+ READ MORE +

Hacked Off Break Parliamentary Lobbying Rules

Who would have thought that Hacked Off, the lobbyists granted private access to Downing Street and given a sofa in Ed Miliband’s office during the crucial press regulation talks, could have possibly broken parliamentary lobbying rules? John Dickinson-Lilley, Hacked Off’s […]

+ READ MORE +

Leveson Lover’s Large Bill Blows Brian’s Bluster

When the Leveson lovers story broke, Brian responded by telling Tory MP Rob Wilson that “Ms Patry Hoskins assisted in the largely mechanical exercise of collecting and organising the evidence”. Adding that  “absolutely no role” in work on the […]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Labour’s Austin Mitchell muses on the campaign:

“What’s the problem? No use pointing at the leader. Too late to change and unnecessary for Miliband is doing well at Question Time. His problem is connecting with the real world. He doesn`t speak people and his protective team of naive kids are playing West Wing rather than letting the leader relate to real people. We could point at the party, shrunk in numbers and enthusiasm because everything, from policy formulation to candidate selection, comes top down rather than bubbling up from below so campaigning becomes the opium of members deprived of any real role, though they`re not even sure what they’re campaigning about, with or for, but its role is marginal.”

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