Paul Brand Denies Civil Servant Husband Received Fixed Penalty Notice

With Paul Brand racking up so many Partygate scoops, naturally social media would start questioning his sources. It wasn’t long before it was spotted his husband is a deputy director at the Cabinet Office, though anyone in the media would know this to be far too blatant for either half of the marriage to risk it. Another rumour reached Guido via two sources – one of them ministerial – this morning, however, that Brand’s husband himself had received a Fixed Penalty Notice. A rumour too important to overlook.

Half an hour ago, Guido spoke to Paul Brand, he “categorically denied” the rumour, no ifs, no buts, and said his partner hadn’t been to any so-called parties and was mostly working from home. He said such were the number of trolls making the claim online he was approaching the point where he might have to address the rumours publicly. It seems Guido’s call caused Brand to re-assess and tweet a statement preemptively:

Guido’s very happy to have helped Paul clear up this whole debacle…

mdi-timer 24 May 2022 @ 12:36 24 May 2022 @ 12:36 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Field Narrows, Anushka Asthana Shortlisted for BBC Pol Ed

ITV’s Paul Brand was one of the favourites for the BBC Political Editor job on the back of his partygate scoops. Given he’s just announced that he is “Thrilled to be fronting the Tonight programme – UK’s most watched current affairs show – from April” Guido thinks we can rule him out of transferring to the BBC. He’ll be going head-to-head with Beth Rigby Interviews, which is kicking off on Sky News tomorrow night. Sky News’s Sam Coates has seen his odds lengthen dramatically at the bookies, so perhaps he is out of the running too. The field is narrowing…

Guido understands ITV’s deputy political editor Anushka Asthana (formerly political editor of the Guardian) is on the shortlist and is currently offered at even money at the bookiesAlso said to be on the shortlist are Faisal Islam and Alex Forsyth – currently the BBC’s political correspondent.

According to one person who was in the running, the interview process has been arduous, with interviewees asked to improvise on the spot impromptu reports in front of the interviewing panel. The announcement as to who succeeds Laura Kuenssberg is expected next month…

mdi-timer 9 March 2022 @ 16:45 9 Mar 2022 @ 16:45 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Downing Street Sources Temporarily Silenced

Yesterday, Peter Oborne published a characteristic scream of pain at the over-use of “Downing Street sources” by Lobby hacks. Oborne argued that the quoting of unnamed sources facilitates lying and makes hacks the hands free delivery mechanism for fake news. It is noticeable that, of late, tweeting Lobby hacks repeat anonymous threats from Downing Street sources which habitually do not eventually materialise. He pointed the finger at almost everyone from Laura Kuenssberg to Robert Peston. For hours after his piece was published, the customary tweeted insider nuggets of information were no longer dipped in the Downing Street source…

Nobody seemingly dared report anything “according to a Downing Street source”. ITV’s Paul Brand was the first to break the self-imposed embargo at teatime. His attribution was greeted by a barrage of abuse on Twitter. Twittering Lobby hacks went silent again on what Downing Street was saying…

At 10:00 pm Peston cracked, tweeting

“So here is No.10 confirming that if EU gives the requested three-month Brexit delay, Boris Johnson will ask for an immediate general election. Loads of you have poured buckets of manure on me for telling you what Downing St is thinking and saying. So you are totally at liberty to ignore this statement or disbelieve it. But it would be wholly wrong of me to withhold this from you, on the patronising assumption you cannot analyse and contextualise it.”

His tweet thread included a Whatsapp text from his undisclosed Downing Street source. He was combative (given he has made his career from repeating things he has been told by sources that is hardly surprising).

Perhaps emboldened by Pesto, at 10:05 pm Laura Kuenssberg risked tweeting “No 10 confirms tonight after the vote they’ll try to push for election if EU offers delay.*” She was greeted with tweets saying she was a Downing Street mouthpiece…

Oborne is right to say that hacks whose main journalistic asset appears to be phone numbers for spokesman really need to be less reliant on, and more careful about, re-broadcasting a line that the source would be too embarrassed to say in public. The reality is that it isn’t in the interests of hacks to open up the Lobby system or insist more often that quotes are on the record. Transparency will devalue their role because information scarcity makes their possession of a spokesman’s phone number more valuable. A start to improving and opening up the system would be to put Lobby briefings in the open and televised…

*Boris had in any case already said this publicly earlier in the day in the Commons.

mdi-timer 23 October 2019 @ 09:01 23 Oct 2019 @ 09:01 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments