With a multi-billion pound budget for news and current affairs the most shared story on the BBC is about a monkey. Shopping. Public service journalism at its finest…
Luke Bozier has given a statement to Josh Halliday about his email account being “maliciously accessed”:
“Deeply private and personal information was posted on the web, and allegations of illegal activity were made. I cut short a trip to the United States on the 6th [December] to request that the Metropolitan police carry out investigations into the alleged illegal acts. As a result I was questioned by police on Friday 7 December. We live in a society of laws and of a justice system that seeks the truth while protecting all of our rights. While some have sought to place me on – as Lord Justice Leveson puts it – ‘trial by Twitter’ – I am engaging in the appropriate legal processes to clear my name. I am deeply aggrieved that it is possible that people can get away with computer hacking behaviour which, without any check, balance, or justification in law, can destroy lives. It is now up to the police to decide whether or not I have committed an illegal act. I am co-operating fully and assisting in their enquiries.”
Luke says he is innocent, but then he also said he had a nine inch…
Tomorrow two parliamentary inquiries are published into Theresa May’s internet snooping plans and are expected to be grim reading for the Home Office. One of the main criticisms set to be levelled by both the Joint Committee on the Draft Communications Data Bill and the Joint Intelligence Committee, is that the evidence provided by the Home Office has been “fanciful” and “misleading.” Too add insult to injury, Guido can this afternoon reveal leaked CCHQ documents that show how before the election the Tories were not quite as enthusiastic about the plans, refusing to legislate before an evidence-based review of current powers and data was undertaken and calling Labour’s argument that it was all about “maintaining capabilities” ostentatious:
Conservative Campaign Guide, 2010.
Collection of Personal Details.
In April 2009 the Government announced that it had dropped proposals for a central database to collect details of email, phone and internet communications. However it published a consultation on plans to collect details about all our personal communications ostensibly on the grounds of maintaining existing police and security service capabilities to counter serious crime and terrorism.
Threat to privacy.
Instead of a central database, the Home Office now proposes requiring each service provider to collect and store information on calls, texts, emails and website visits so that the security service and other public authorities can access it when needed. The information will include who is contacting whom, when and where and which websites are visited, but not the content of the conversations or messages (Home Office, Protecting the public in a changing communications environment, 27 April 2009). The Information Commissioner responded by saying that ‘this proposal represents a step change in the relationship between the citizen and the state’. He also criticised the Government for not providing sufficient detail of its proposals (Information Commissioner’s response to Protecting the Public in a Changing Communication Environment – A consultation by the Home Office, 15 July 2009)
Communications Data Retention Reviewed.
A Conservative government would conduct an evidence-based review of the retention of communications data. It would look at how useful existing powers are to law enforcement and intelligence authorities before suggesting that even more communications data should be collected. If there is a capability gap a Conservative government would investigate how much data should be collected and for how long, and look at the rules that should govern its exploitation.
No such review took place, and exactly the same argument of “maintaining capability” has been used by the Home Office for this Bill. Sir Humphrey the spook is alive and well…
Worth it for the Dappy from N-Dubz line…
Believe it or not, David Willetts gave an interview that caught Guido’s eye in the Times this weekend. Speaking about what the government was doing to boost Britain’s scientific standing in the world, Two Brains let the cat out of the bag regarding a certain conflicted MP:
“A new scientific field known as “synthetic biology”, which finds ways of using specifically-designed bacteria to solve medical and industrial problems, will be handed £50 million of the new money. Mr Willetts said that he had been particularly taken by one company, TMO Renewables, that had designed a micro-organism capable of turning human waste into biofuels.”
Tim Yeo, the man in charge of the Energy and Climate Change select committee, is paid £5,400 per month as chairman of TMO. His company lobbies the government for funding and Willetts signs off a tranche of taxpayers’ cash for them to turn poo into fuel. Whiffy…
Andrew Neil asks Harman:
“What’s the logic of say the online site of the New Statesman coming within this regulation? A site which has no great influence in Westminster, whereas the Guido Fawkes, probably the most influential site in Westminster, should not?”
A free press doesn’t fear the government’s stick…
The Guardian is reporting that Luke Bozier was arrested on Friday after his former business partner reported him to the police following the mysterious hacking of his email account:
“Bozier, 27, was arrested at 1pm on Friday at a central London police station and released on bail until a date in early February. He was questioned by Metropolitan police detectives on suspicion of viewing or possession indecent images of children and released on bail later on Friday.”
Careful how you Menshn it now, given it’s being handled by the police.
It has been a month to be proud of our globe-trotting former Prime Mentalist. Not only did he manage to make it a year since he last spoke in Parliament but he has also declared over £300,000 in December’s Register of Members’ Interests, all held by the Office of Gordon and Sarah Brown and not going into his own pocket, of course. While Kirkcaldy goes unrepresented those lucky enough to have Gordon grace them with his presence include the Chinese, Koreans, Americans and Ukrainians. The total £305,037 declaration for the last month is for sixteen hours’ work, or £19,064-an-hour. More than many of his constituents earn in a whole year.
A letter has gone out from the Tories to Ed Miliband calling for the Labour leader to sack his former boss. Brown is jet-setting around the world, refusing to speak up for those he is paid £65,000-a-year of taxpayers’ money to represent, while earning vast sums of money that is being “held” by his company to “support (my) ongoing involvement in public life”. Surely it is time for that “public life” to be lived away from the House of Commons…
Well the Tom Watson re-branding exercise didn’t last very long. Having lit the touch-paper for incorrect Tory paedo-outings and then running away, Watson has been keeping a rather low profile of late. That did not escape the notice of one Tory MP though, as reported in yesterday’s Daily Star Sunday:
LABOUR bruiser Tom Watson was surprisingly absent during the Prime Minister’s statement about the Leveson Inquiry on the day the report into the Press was published. Backbench Tory MP Andrew Bridgen remarked on the large Watson-shaped hole on the Labour benches during the debate. When on Monday morning they came face to face in the cloisters around Parliament, Bridgen chirpily said: “We missed you on Thursday, Tom.” At which point Watson, “shaking with rage”, jabbed his finger at Bridgen and menacingly told him: “You’re going to f**king regret that.”
What’s that thing about leopards and spots?
The rest of Guido’s Sunday column, including Harriet Harman’s “bit of rough”, an update on Euan Blair and Sally’s disappointment, is now online.
Congratulations are in order to Chloe Smith this morning as it’s announced she is getting married. According to the Norfolk Evening News the “love-struck” Norwich North MP
“said she was “incredibly proud” to announce her engagement to a former soldier who she proposed to after a four-month romance.”
Presumably Paxo will be the guest of honour.