Guido has been looking through the “evidence” that the Prime Mentalist has provided to Leveson to back up his claim that he never threatened Rupert Murdoch in the now infamous “declaration of war” phone call in November 2009. Lots of noise has been made about Civil Servants supporting Brown’s version of events, but that is not quite true. Statements have been provided by various staffers who heard the call:
- Stewart Wood – then Brown’s SpAd, now Lord Wood and Ed’s consigliere – a political appointment known to mop up and cover for Brown’s messes in the past. The Prime Mentalist was witnessed roughly pushing Wood, but he still denies it ever happened.
- Gavin Kelly – then deputy chief of staff and another political loyalist. Brown once grabbed him by the collar and said “they are out to get me”. Hardly a credible witness either.
- David Muir – another political spinner. Claims “Gordon would shout and be exasperated and angry about things” but covers for him adding “it was for the right reasons”.
- Michael Dugher – yet another political spinner. Now and MP, but spent the dying days of the Brown government forcing the line. Old habits die hard.
The only non-political witness statement provided is from Simon Lewis, who was the PM’s Official Spokesman. The only civil servant Brown uses for back up was the only witness not to actually hear the call. He stresses that his statement relies on what he was told to brief to the press. Funny that…
UPDATE: A reliable Westminster watchers notes: “I think the contention from Murdoch is that there was a call in late September (just after the Sun came out), rather than in November which is the call people refer to.”