My summary of the momentous events of this weekend is as follows. Downing Street as peddled the following untruths:
Lie 1: Only McBride and Draper knew about the smear plan. From the evidence out so far, it seems to have involved in addition:
- Liam Byrne (Minister for the Cabinet Office, HM Government) – said McBride had done the 'honourable thing'.
- Tom Watson (Minister for Digital Engagement and the Civil Service, working for Byrne) – mentioned in emails and has previous, smearing Cameron with Sion Simon in a cringe making video
- Kevin Maguire (Daily Mirror) – still defending McBride and seeking to use the smears.
- Charlie Whelan (Unite) – copied on emails
- Andrew Porter (Daily Telegraph) – part of co-ordinated strategy for damage limitation once story was out.
Lie 2: They thought about putting these stories into the public domain but changed their minds. This is already unravelling as Nadine Dorris is saying today.
Lie 3: Brown thinks 'there is no place in politics' for this type of behaviour. Clearly he does. Otherwise why would he employ such people? It is almost incredible that he didn't know what was going on, especially now with his 'war room' having him sitting in the middle of all his spin doctors.
From the breadth of people involved in the smear plan (this is no small tight-knit group), it is almost certain we will learn more. Brown is up to his neck in this. He's lost his spinner-in-chief who would normally have defended him. I'm fascinated to see what happens next.