How Brown aide went about his Tory smear campaignApril 13th, 2009 - 2:03 pm ICT by ANI
London, Apr.13 (ANI): Damian McBride, Downing Street’s head of strategy and planning, sent e-mails in January to the Labour blogger Derek Draper suggesting a smear campaign against the Tories using a proposed new website, RedRag.
In the first e-mail, sent on 13 January, McBride writes: “Gents, a few ideas I have been working on for RedRag. For ease, I’ve written all the below as I’d write them for the site.”
The ideas contained in the e-mail include spreading several false rumours: that David Cameron had an embarrassing medical condition; that George Osborne took drugs with a prostitute - an old allegation in the public domain which Osborne has flatly denied; allegations of a sexual nature about the Tory backbencher Nadine Dorries, which she vehemently denies and has consulted her lawyers about; and about a Tory MP allegedly getting publicity for a firm run by his partner. There is no evidence that any of the claims are true.
Draper responded 20 minutes later: “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 sent a second e-mail later the same month, offering “a couple more thoughts on stories”.
On the false rumour of Cameron’s medical condition, McBride suggests challenging Cameron to publish his “full financial and medical records”, and to spread gossip that he may have suffered from a sexually transmitted disease. He suggested, “inserting [a] picture of Dr Christian Jessen”, who appears on the Channel 4 programme Embarrassing Bodies. There is no suggestion that the two men know each other.
McBride’s other idea is to falsely hint at the existence of embarrassing photographs of Osborne from his university days.
According to The Guardian, in a reference to pictures published in 2005 of Osborne with a prostitute, Natalie Rowe, taken 12 years earlier, and a notorious Bullingdon Club photograph of Osborne taken when he was at Oxford, McBride writes: “Embarrassing photos have followed George Osborne around throughout his career: posing in his Bullingdon Club uniform at Oxford, lying on the carpet at home in his permed mullet playing Monopoly with his fellow viscounts and standing in an … embrace with a prostitute at a party in London. But he knows that the most embarrassing photos from his past have yet to emerge.”
McBride suggests that the website spread false rumours that pictures exist of Osborne “posing in a bra, knickers and suspenders” and “with his face ‘blacked up’”.
“He wouldn’t be the first student to do some cross-dressing at university. But … why would a student in the late 1980s black up his face for the amusement of friends in their private college rooms? This in the era when young Tories wore ‘Hang Mandela’ T-shirts.”
McBride writes: “If you think these work, let’s think about how to sequence them in with the others.” He admits that one of his ideas “is a bit of poetic licence” but is based on “what we know” about the prostitute with whom Osborne was pictured.
“It will put the fear of God into Osborne,” he adds. He suggests spreading rumours that “secret tapes” exist containing evidence that Osborne had sex with the prostitute. The shadow chancellor has always denied having any physical relationship with Rowe or taking any drugs with her.
Apart from targeting Tory leaders, McBride suggests running stories of a sexual nature about Nadine Dorries, a Tory backbench MP. (ANI)
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Tags: allegation, backbencher, bullingdon club, club photograph, damian, david cameron, downing street, draper, e mail, false rumour, false rumours, george osborne, getting publicity, jessen, medical condition, medical records, redrag, sexual nature, smear campaign, tory mp