Sunday, March 04, 2007

Cash for Peerages, What the Papers are saying this Sunday

Well, it is looking interesting this morning.

The injunction story is covered by both the Sunday Telegraph here and the Mail on Sunday here. The Sunday Herald (published in Scotland) also covers it a bit here.

The Mail on Sunday, here, starts by covering the angle that Lord Goldsmith, The Attorney General not only wanted to gag the BBC, but prevent it saying it had been gaged at all. Fortunately he lost on that one, though it would still have turned up on my blog, here.

Interestingly enough the Mail on Sunday also points out that as the details of the injunction are still secret they could not tell if what they had uncovered was covered or not.

Well, looks like the three papers I have mentioned above have confirmed my story here, so I know I am safe!

Anyway, The MOS appears to have been placed in a position of having to gag itself or face an injunction. That in itself is interesting.

The Mail on Sunday claims the email the BBC have is from Ruth Turner to Jonathan Powell, Tony Blair's chief of staff. Bit of a killer blow as we all know it concerns someone else (see here). I do hope someone is watching flights to Tel Aviv.

The Mail on Sunday also raises the question of the secret email system again, which has been covered on the blogosphere before, by Guido for example here.

The thing about what Guido uncovered is this. It is a webmail system, so if you can browse the Internet you can get to it, end of discussion. No matter what Sir Gus O'Donnell says, if Labour party party people could browse the web they could use it. That said it is not a "secret email system" inside Number 10, but it may well be one that can be accessed from inside Number 10, and I do not accept Sir Gus O'Donnell assurances that they can't get webmail because frankly the government doesn't do IT.

The Sunday Telegraph story here, links the email to Lord Levy and Ruth Turner. Fascinating stuff.

There seems to have been much flak going about on Friday about Guido not getting the story, well he is allowed out! and the fact that Iain Dale and I linked it to Lord Levy, where as Guido linked it to Ruth Turner.

It appears we were all correct.

From Scotland we have the Sunday Herald with this, which in essence seems to me to rehash my stories from Friday where I pointed out that I did not expect the injunction to last next week, as the BBC will appeal on Monday and may well win . There is the subtle possibility hinted at that the gag was to assist with an inquiry so need not hang about for too long in any case, which is a new perspective.

The million pound question is of course, will any one be charged? I suspect they will, though we will have to see. If for example this email was deleted after the inquiry started it could well leave a few people in some serious bother!

The other thing to remember is that the three people we are talking about, Lord Levy, Ruth Turner and Jonathan Powell are only canaries, and if charged may well sing. Oh dear Tony!

3 comments:

ChrisD said...

Benedict, on the Herald story I may have misread it, but it implied that an individual has been the subject of a gagging order similar to that imposed when Blair was last questioned???

Benedict White said...

ChrisD, that is not the way I read it. It seems that the BBC had a story that was gagged.

If however you mean that the plan was for an individual to be kept in the dark whilst the police sneak up on them as it were, yes it seems that is what is being reported.

ChrisD said...

Benedict, I know that the BBC had a story which was effectively gagged by the injunction sought by the AG.
Also agree that the plan was maybe to keep this information under wraps until the police had finished a particular line of enquiry.
If the Herald article is correct then we are missing a piece of the jigsaw, which might shed more light on the rumours this was leaked by sources in Downing street.
"The BBC is understood to have intended to broadcast the identity of a person interviewed by the inquiry team who was subsequently ordered by police to respect a week-long news blackout.
New information given during that interview is being followed up by police and, during the two-hour injunction hearing at the High Court on Friday, they are said to have been determined their inquiry should not be derailed by disclosure by the BBC."
That is a slightly different take on why the injunction was sought even though the "email" is still the key to this.