Pig gate. Cui Bono. Who will be ruined

21 Sep 2015 at 20:05

Now that we have pigged and punned out on swine gate it is time for some serious reflection. Michael Ashcroft is a man of judgement and serious discernment, after all he published my book. However……….. The allegations that are made have the potential to be a very serious libel with a prospect of punitive damages. To say that the story is so flaky that it does an injustice to Cadburys is an understatement . The best that Oakshott (niece of the ghastly Lib Dem peer Mathew) can say is that there is no evidence that Cameron was a member of this debauched club as there is no list of members. All the evidence we know of is that a sitting Tory MP stood up the story. This means that at sometime the lawyers would have demanded a Statement of Truth, which in the old days we would have called an affidavit from him or her. It must exist. It will eventually come into the public domain.

I am not going into the law of libel. But can the story stand up to be true, fair comment or justification? Tricky one. The way newspapers work is fairly simple. Is it a libel? If not let’s print. If it is, is the guy going to sue? And no Prime Minister will ever take a libel action to court. It is a side show. It is a distraction. It will lead to digging that could be potentially damaging, although not really relevant to the action. And my God it will sell papers. That, I suspect, was the editorial judgement. It was a seriously wrong one.

And Ashcroft. He did wonders for the Tory party finances. He was brilliant at targeting the marginals. He was an asset to my party. He deserved a big job in government. But then, like so many others, because of the coalition and a whiff of a problem with his non dom status, he wasn’t offered a job in 2010. These things happen.

The trouble with the pig story is that it is so off the wall, so patently wrong and so absolutely daft, that it devalues any proper story in the book. So for the sake of a couple of days of sensationalism the whole ethos of the book, the destruction of Cameron, has been destroyed. All very strange.

Quite sensibly, Corbyn as a decent man won’t touch it with a barge pole. But what about Bercow? If he has any sense he will stop any reference to it in debate. We shall see as both him and Cameron loathe each other.

And what about the alleged MP who ‘broke’ story? He, or she will be ruined. That is the story.

Will it wait until the Sundays? I doubt it