LabourList did a story on the weekend relishing Guido getting punked over that Purnell story. So a bit of background as to how it went wrong might be useful.
It wasn’t a one-off anonymous tip. It was a tip given in two parts, the week before the source had told Guido there was a meeting to be held in Manchester, which Purnell’s people where encouraging people to attend. That meeting coincided with the PLP meeting. Two out of three elements of that tip were verified. It seemed interesting.
Guido was also able to identify who the person passing the information was (though the tipster didn’t know that). Guido discovered he worked for Lindsay Hoyle MP, who coincidentally spoke at the PLP that night in favour of Brown carrying on with the job. The tipster was also an officer of the Labour Party, serving on the National Executive of Labour Students. This all boosted, though he could not have known this, his credentials. He could, Guido reasoned, be in a position to know.
The tipster called Guido’s voicemail-to-text-message* number during the PLP meeting and spoke in hushed tones, claiming he was at the Manchester meeting and that Purnell had just told people that he would stand if no credible candidate came forward. Nice bit of plausible nuancing. Guido took a flyer and ran a much caveated post emphasising it was unconfirmed and immediately tried to get hold of Purnell. When it didn’t check out, Guido retracted it pretty quickly. Still haven’t figured out why Jonty Pryor went to all that trouble…
*Provided by SpinVox.