Anorak News | Revealed: The Emails That Did For ‘Brilliant’ Damian McBride

Revealed: The Emails That Did For ‘Brilliant’ Damian McBride

by | 12th, April 2009

ANORAK has seen the emails telling of a Damian McBride’s plot to smear the Tories.

The damning verdict on Damian McBride is that the papers that lead with news of his departure refer to him not by name – “Key Brown side” (Observer; Sunday Times), “Attack Dog” (Mail) and “Key Brown advisor”.

The name is Damian McBride. And now he’s gone, we know who he is. The BBC publishes McBride’s resignation statement in full:

“I am shocked and appalled that, however they were obtained, these e-mails have been put into the public domain by Paul Staines.”

Anorak readers are well-versed in such apologies. And here McBride is quickly establishing a sympathetic background story.

When Derek Draper originally suggested using a website to compete with the kind of material seen regularly on the Guido Fawkes blog, he asked me in a personal capacity to write up some of the stories doing the rounds in Westminster.

Not my idea.

Derek and I decided in the end that this website was the wrong thing to do, and that Derek should not take his online efforts down to the level of Guido Fawkes and his Tory backers.

We are above such things.

I have already apologised for the inappropriate and juvenile content of my e-mails, and the offence they have caused, but I did not want these stories in the public domain – it is because Paul Staines has put them there, and I am sickened that he has done so.

It is McBride who is the victim here. It is just McBride’s decency that dignifies Staines’ sickening actions with a response. McBride is the injured party. Will McBride go further and say the entire thing was an ingenious ruse to entrap Staines and see how low he would sink?

However, we all know that when a backroom adviser becomes the story, their position becomes untenable, so I have willingly offered my resignation.

We are all in this together. But eventually:

It has been an absolute privilege to work for Gordon Brown and the Labour government in the Treasury and in Downing Street, they will always have my full support, and I regret any embarrassment I have caused them.

The Emails:

Of course, what we want is to read the emails. And the Sunday Times publishes them, at least it claims to on its cover. What we get is:

The unfounded smears suggested: “Putting the fear of God” into Osborne by spreading rumours that he took drugs and had sex with a prostitute. Spreading rumours about the mental health of Osborne’s wife. Challenging Cameron to reveal details of an “embarrassing illness”. Accusing a gay Tory MP of promoting his partner’s business interests in the Commons…

The e-mails were sent on January 13. The proposed slurs about Cameron, Osborne, Osborne’s wife Frances and three other Tory MPs, were designed to appear on a website called Red Rag, which McBride suggested should be advertised on LabourList, a website officially backed by the party.

LabourList run by Derek Draper. More on him here.

Says he:

“I don’t think I should resign for receiving an email I did not publish. This was a mate sending another mate some gossipy stories that never saw the light of day. Some were brilliant and rather funny.”

No, they were not published. But would they have been, given time? But emails are the Government’s business, aren’t they? And the Govenment represents us. So here’s that email exchange, as told by the NOTW:

McBride (from his Downing Street email account): “One is a solid investigative story. The other three are gossipy and mainly intended to destabilise the Tories.”

Draper: “Absolutely totally brilliant Damian. I’ll think about timing and sort out the technology this week so we can go as soon as possible.”

McBride: “We’ve got to keep the momentum going. If David Cameron wants to go down the American route of having TV debates before the next election, why doesn’t he go the whole hog and propose that the party leaders also publish their full financial and medical records?

“He could clear up exactly how much the Camerons are worth and he could make clear that he’s not hiding any Embarrassing Illnesses (Insert the picture of Dr Christian Jessen, who’s supposedly the doctor who treated him and who presents the Embarrassing Illnesses programme.)”

Adding: “If someone asked him that in an interview I predict we’d see him shifting uncomfortably in his seat and scratching around for an answer.”

The News of the World adds:

McBride and Draper also planned to plant a story about the fragile mental state of George Osborne’s wife Frances in the wake of the Yachtgate row over claims Mr Osborne sought a £50,000 party donation from a Russian billionaire while on holiday.

There were absolutely no grounds for such a claim. All the pair could point to were suggestions Frances looked “sullen” at parties.

McBride’s take on that:

“Why are friends of George Osborne letting it be known that his wife Frances has been feeling emotionally fragile since his Yachtgate troubles in the summer, supposedly appearing sullen at party events and becoming upset when seeing media coverage critical of her husband?

“It’s suspicious that George’s ‘friends’ keep dropping allusions to her ‘problems’ into conversation and smacks of a deliberate ploy.”


In another story, McBride and Draper planned to reveal a Tory MP had used his position to get publicity for a business where his gay partner works. He listed occasions when the MP had praised the firm in the House of Commons and hosted a reception in Parliament to promote their goods.

McBride wrote: “Is it acceptable that a Conservative should routinely use his position in the House of Commons to offer free publicity while never once declaring his close personal relationship with their Managing Director?”

In the Mail, Nadine Dorries, MP for Mid Bedfordshire, claims she had been “slandered”.

The emails are understood to make highly personal and crude remarks about the 51-year-old backbench MP, which she said last night were ‘100 per cent untrue’.

(Finally, McBride suggests Red Rag concoct a tale about Nadine Dorries, a Tory back-bench MP, having a one-night stand with a married colleague during a party away day. McBride suggests Red Rag hint that a sex aid was accidentally left in a hotel bedroom.)

Says she:

“I’m delighted Damian McBride has gone but it must not deflect attention from the fact that these emails were being sent from the office of the Prime Minister. This wasn’t a spat between bloggers. These emails were part of a dirty tricks campaign orchestrated by Downing Street.

“Damian McBride was both the political and Press adviser to Gordon Brown, a civil servant and reputedly the Prime Minister’s right-hand man. Yet he used his position to send emails that were salacious, disgusting and wholly untrue about Conservative MPs.

“It shows how desperate the occupants of No10 are to cling on to power that they would mount a smear campaign loaded with lies against backbench MPs.

“I wonder how Gordon Brown would feel if the situation were the other way round: if a Conservative official were sending out emails like this one about Sarah Brown. To say I’m livid is an understatement. Damian McBride has slandered me in these emails and I am currently consulting lawyers.

“I also want a personal apology from the Prime Minister, who must have known that these sorts of dirty tricks were going on.”

The Telegraph says the smears were to appear on “a Left-wing version of the Guido Fawkes blog called Red Rag.” A site registred to one “Oliver Cromwell” and with no content.

A Red Rag to a bull(shit)…

Note: Is this all just a case of Nominative Determinism – Staines exposes smears; McBride is a force behind Brown; Draper is behind the curtains?


Derek Draper And McBride: “I Wasn’t Lying On Purpose”

Order Order: Derek Draper’s Greatest Hit

Posted: 12th, April 2009 | In: Key Posts, Politicians Comments (13) | TrackBack | Permalink