The Telegraph, Mirror, Metro and Mail have all followed up Exaro’s top scoop that Leon Brittan has been buried in an unmarked grave for fear it would be vandalised. The MailOnline headline has however since been changed with no explanation, though the URL remains the same:
Why the subtle change? As is being pointed out this morning, and as the new Mail copy states: “In accordance with Jewish tradition, the former home secretary is said to have been interred in an simple plot without flowers in Golders Green Cemetery”.
Stories about Leon Brittan buried in an unmarked grave are ludicrous – Jewish graves not immediately marked. Sick and pathetic muck-raking.
— Marcus Dysch (@MarcusDysch) February 9, 2015
@ExaroNews You are aware that Jewish graves aren't marked until a stone setting about a year later?
— Daniel Finkelstein (@Dannythefink) February 9, 2015
— Jessica Elgot (@jessicaelgot) February 9, 2015
Wonder what other assumptions Exaro have failed to check…
“Leon Brittan was a dedicated and fiercely intelligent public servant. As a central figurein Margaret Thatcher’s government, he helped her transform our country for the better by giving distinguished service as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Home Secretary and Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. He went on to play a leading role at the European Commission where he did so much to promote free trade in Europe and across the world. More recently, he made an active contribution to the House of Lords. My thoughts are with Leon’s family and friends at this sad time.”
He would have been fully briefed before giving this statement…
UPDATE: It took Clegg four hours to release his statement:
“Leon was one of the most intelligent figures in modern British public life.
When I worked for Leon in Brussels almost 20 years ago, his forensic understanding of detailed issues combined with his passionate belief in internationalism was evident to everyone.
His courage in sticking up for his pro-European views, despite huge pressure to the contrary, never wavered.
His intellectual curiosity about politics; the arts; history; and literature was encyclopedic. Even as illness affected him badly in recent years, he kept up his lifelong habit of reading a constant flow of books on a huge range of subjects.
My heart goes out to Diana Brittan and Leon’s family at this very sad time.”
Very sad to see Leon Brittan has died. A good & honourable servant of his country. A decent and lasting friend. He will be sorely missed RIP
— John Deben (@lorddeben) January 22, 2015
Sources indicate John Gummer is correct.
“Former Home Secretary Leon Brittan died last night at his home in London after a long battle with cancer.” – Family statement
Leon Brittan family statement pic.twitter.com/5TOLhPLXVO
— John Stevens (@johnestevens) January 22, 2015