Guido hears a line has finally been drawn under the row sparked from the Mail on Sunday by Glen Owen about Angela Rayner’s legs. In April the MoS published a now-notorious piece, “Tories accuse Angela Rayner of Basic Instinct ploy to distract Boris: MPs claim Labour deputy leader likes to put PM ‘off his stride’ by crossing and uncrossing her legs at PMQs”. At the time IPSA received over 6,000 complaints from pearl-clutching members of the public, however because many of the complaints related to accuracy they could only proceed were Rayner to put forward her side of the story.
“Such an investigation would not be possible without her involvement, and because of this, we declined to consider complaints made under this Code clause. This does not affect the ability of Ms Rayner to make a complaint on this point.”
Despite the story resulting in Glen Owen being hounded, and Dan Hodges revealing it was Rayner herself who made the comments while drinking with Tory MPs, Guido understands Rayner never got involved and as such IPSO has closed the investigation.
Asked for a comment on the above, IPSO told Guido, “Many thanks for your email. We have no comment.” Seven months to draw a line under the incident – and people say Britain has a productivity crisis…
Over the weekend Twitter was trending with news that Boris was yet again doomed because Jonathan Harmsworth (Lord Rothermere) had turned against him. Guido has tracked down the sources of this conspiracy theory…
On Saturday night Tim Walker tweeted about an article he had written for the New European – where Alastair Campbell is Editor-at-Large – which claimed:
It’s over now for Johnson. The Mail papers were his last defenders. They’ve given up on him now, too. The dynamic here was Rothermere and his concern for his papers and Dacre and his concern for his peerage. Rothermere has had enough of that. … Trust me, this change of direction is seismic.
Likewise, Adam Bienkov, political editor of the conspiracy website Byline Times, joined in by opining on Sunday:
The Mail turning on Boris Johnson means the last prop keeping him in power is starting to fall. If it weren’t for his few remaining press supporters, Johnson would have long ago been forced out of Downing Street.
Tim Walker had some kind of breakdown over Brexit, and Adam Bienkov has written for a decade about the coming collapse of Boris. Their followers lapped it up and it was trending on Twitter with much rejoicing and admiration for the new-found wisdom of Lord Rothermere. Monday came, and this morning’s Mail leader will have unravelled all their hopes:
A Daily Mail editorial, fulsome with praise and advice for Boris that suggests perhaps the paper hasn’t turned against him. As it “asserts this paper unequivocally believes Boris Johnson is the right man to lead the party and the country”. Walker and Bienkov have yet to explain how their seismic weekend scoop has unravelled on Monday…
This morning’s Mail splash features a firm rebuke of Lindsay Hoyle’s demand for a meeting between himself and the Sunday editor following last weekend’s Angela Rayner Basic Instinct piece. “No, Mr Speaker”, reads the lead by Dan Hodges, who wrote:
“The Mail respectfully declines the Commons Speaker’s summons for The Mail on Sunday to appear over its Angela Rayner report”
… “The Mail on Sunday deplores sexism and misogyny in all its forms. However journalists must be free to report what they are told by MPs about conversations which take place in the House of Commons, however unpalatable some may find them.”
Guido’s editor has first-hand experience of Hoyle summoning a hack in “for a meeting”. Back in 2020, he was summoned to meet with Mr Speaker and the Serjeant-at-Arms for publishing the photo below of Nadine Dorries’s office door after she’d been confirmed as the first MP with Coronavirus.
The editor was summoned to the Speaker’s study, where the Serjeant-at-Arms was in full costume and some other staff from the communications team were sat at the table. Asked to reveal who was the source, it was gingerly explained to have come from a co-conspirator and the invitation to name the source was declined. This resulted in a bit of harrumphing from the communications team and Mr Speaker who, to be fair, was reasonable and charming, accepting that he obviously couldn’t take a pass off the editor because he knew there was none. There was a disagreement over whether a picture of a door constituted a security risk, at which point the Speaker brought up other pictures we had run of Speaker Bercow’s personalised number plate. In the end the Speaker pleaded for reasonableness. He explained he was under pressure from members of the Lobby, who said it was unfair that we did not play by the rules. Paul Waugh had deleted a picture he had tweeted after being reminded of the rules.
It was all very civil and a little bit silly. The Serjeant-at-Arms was a sweetie and escorted us out…
Simon Walters is departing the Daily Mail on amicable terms. His appointment as the Daily Mail’s assistant editor in 2018 came as he followed Geordie Grieg from the Mail on Sunday, where he had been political editor for nineteen years and won press awards galore. He is expected to maintain a close connection with the Mail even as leaves the staff. Simon started his career in 1974 at the Slough Evening Mail, was a parliamentary reporter with the Press Association, political reporter at The Sun and deputy editor of the Sunday Express.
The four times winner of the Political Journalist of the Year Award at the British Press Awards has an unrivalled record for fearless reporting with agenda setting scoops second to none. Guido’s not convinced he’s going to become a freelancer…
Gary Trotter, the Mail photographer who caught self-styled scourge of the posh, John Prescott playing the posh sport of croquet on the Dorneywood lawn when jet setting Tony Blair left him in charge of the country, has died.
Trotter staked out ex-Deputy PM Prezza for days, hiding in the bushes near Dorneywood in Bucks in 2006 before he struck tabloid gold for his paper, the Mail on Sunday. Getting big lump Prescott in the crosshairs of his telephoto lens was a piece of cake for hardened war photographer Gary, who died aged 65. It would probably be illegal under today’s judge-made media privacy laws.
Gary once said his ideal assignment was: “A small war, a beach and a bar that serves Jack Daniels.” A man after Guido’s heart. RIP Gary.
This morning the Mail on Sunday carries the eye-catching exclusive that three Labour MPs are on the verge of defecting to the Tories. Glen Owen and Brendan Carlin claim this is due to disillusionment with Starmer’s leadership, with the MPs already having opened up “lines of communication” with Tory whips. In related news, a senior Labour MP was spotted by a co-conspirator chatting with two Mail on Sunday hacks and three senior Tory advisors at a conference bar last night…