Note: I attended an Orwell Prize meeting on 24 October at the Frontline Club in Paddington. The erstwhile Labour Cabinet Minister Denis MacShane was one of the speakers. The subject was the misbehaviour of the police and their relations with the media.
When questions from the audience were called for I told the meeting about Piers Morgan’s letter to the PCC in which he admitted receiving information from the police in circumstances which can only have been illegal and the subsequent failure of the police to question Morgan. I then asked MacShane whether he would take up the matter. Amazingly, you may think, the chair of the meeting Jean Seaton (the director of the Orwell Prize) intervened and said he did not have to answer because that was not what the meeting was about This was a rather strange claim because not only was it speaking to the subject of the meeting, but MacShane during his talk particularly emphasised how it was necessary to stop the police from colluding with the media by selling stories to them.
After the meeting I spoke with MacShane briefly and gave him a copy of the Morgan letter. I followed up with the email below. Watch this space for further developments on the Piers Morgan front. Robert Henderson
Update 2/11/2012 : The Standards and Privileges Committee of the House of Commons recommended on 2 November that McShane be suspended for a year from the Commons after they found that McShane had ‘submitted 19 false invoices “plainly intended to deceive”’ and the ‘The Chairman of the Standards and Privileges Committee said it was the “gravest case” to come before MPs. ‘ (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/9651100/MPs-expenses-scandal-Denis-MacShane-to-be-suspended-as-an-MP-for-twelve-months.html). McShane’s expenses claims were referred to the police in 2010 who closed the investigation without charges being brought in July 2012, although no clear reason was given for the absence of charges. The Labour Party have disowned him following the Standards and Privileges Committee’s report.
McShane loves to engage in moral posturing of the politically correct kind, whilst at the same time behaving immorally. This is one of the classic traits of the psychopath which is given literary from in Emmerson’s “The more he talked of his honour/The faster we counted our spoons.”
Mr Denis MacShane MP (Rotherham)
House of Commons
25 10 2012
Dear Mr MacShane,
I will amplify the details I gave last night during the Orwell Prize meeting at the Frontline Club and to you personally after the meeting about collusion between politicians, the police and the media.
I gave you of a copy of the letter sent by Piers Morgan to the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) in October 1997. This was sent to me after I made a complaint to the PCC following a highly libellous story about me published by the Mirror on 25 March 1997 at the beginning of the General Election Campaign.
As you will have seen from Morgan’s letter, the Mirror story involved Tony and Cherie Blair. They tried and miserably failed to have me prosecuted for a crime which, as lawyers, they must have known I had not committed. The non-existent crime was a claim that I had breached the Malicious Communications Act in my letters to them. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) thought so little of the attempt to have me prosecuted that they rejected the case on the same day it was sent to them, an extraordinary thing when the pressure to proceed against me must have been immense because of the identity of the complainants. Nor was I at any time contacted by the police about the Blairs’ complaint.
The Mirror story (copy below) falsely accused me of being a dangerous racist who had bombarded the Blairs with hundreds of letters full of crude racist language. As you will see from Morgan’s letter he had never seen any such letters. There was the simplest of reasons for this: they were never written. Fuller details of this episode can be found at http://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/when-tony-and-cherie-blair-tried-to-have-me-jailed/.
After the publication of the Mirror story Piers Morgan refused to make any retraction or correction. I consequently made a complaint to the PCC. The PCC released a copy of his incriminating letter to them to me. This shows unambiguously that Morgan had received information in circumstances which can only have been illegal, viz: “The police source of our article (whose identity we have a moral obligation to protect) ….” If the information had been passed legitimately, for example, in a press conference, there would be no need to refuse to name him. Neither was the information given to any other media outlet. Nor was the information of a nature which could have been given to the media legitimately.
I referred the letter with its admission to the police. It was sent from my local station to Scotland Yard. An “investigation” was supposedly carried out by Detective Chief Superintendent Jeff Curtis. It was a most remarkable “investigation” because when it was concluded Curtis admitted to me that no one at the Mirror – not Morgan, the reporter who wrote the story (Jeff Edwards) or anyone else – had been interviewed. For the full story see http://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/the-failure-to-charge-piers-morgan-with-illicitly-receiving-information-from-the-police/
The PCC refused to adjudicate on my original complaint or my subsequent complaint about Morgan’s admission of having received information illicitly from the police. Mr MP Frank Dobson, who was member of Blair’s cabinet at the time, refused to take up the case. Eventually on 10 November 1999 Sir Richard Body MP put down this Early Day Motion (EDM) in the House of Commons :
CONDUCT OF THE RIGHT HONOURABLE MEMBER FOR SEDGEFIELD 10:11:99
Sir Richard Body
That this House regrets that the Right honourable Member for Sedgefield [Tony Blair] attempted to persuade the Metropolitan Police to bring criminal charges against Robert Henderson, concerning the Right honourable Member’s complaints to the police of an offence against the person, malicious letters and racial insult arising from letters Robert Henderson had written to the Right honourable Member complaining about various instances of publicly-reported racism involving the Labour Party; and that, after the Crown Prosecution Service rejected the complaints of the Right honourable Member and the Right honourable Member failed to take any civil action against Robert Henderson, Special Branch were employed to spy upon Robert Henderson, notwithstanding that Robert Henderson had been officially cleared of any illegal action.
Until Blair left No 10 (a period of ten years) I was subject of continual harassment – my post opened ostentatiously, threats by phone, a hate campaign on social networking sites such as newsgroups inciting violence against me and for all I know my phone was tapped. I suspect this was either Special Branch or MI15, both of which I discovered through the use of the Data Protection Act (DPA), hold files on me, although the information held by them was almost entirely withheld in answer to my Subject Access Requests under the DPA.
This motion is now part of the official House of Commons record.
I initially submitted to the Leveson Inquiry information about my mistreatment by the Mirror (and other media outlets), the PCC’s refusal to adjudicate on my complaints and the failure of the police to investigate Morgan’s admission that the Mirror had accepted information from the police illicitly. Leveson refused to call me as a witness or accept my information into evidence.
When Morgan gave evidence he perjured himself by claiming that he had never received information illicitly from the police (http://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/12/20/piers-morgan-lied-to-the-leveson-inquiry/). The writer of the Mirror story about me, the Mirror’s erstwhile chief crime reporter also committed perjury before the Inquiry, viz: ““Q75 I never asked police officers in any way to disclose things they were not allowed to do or tried to push them to give me information they were uncomfortable disclosing.” . As he was the one who claimed to have received the information about me he caught himself in a very stupid lie.
I madea further submissions to Leveson drawing their attention to Morgan’s and Edward’s perjury:
Leveson refused to act on these stone-certain cases of perjury to his Inquiry which took information under oath from both Morgan and Edwards.
My experience shows graphically how there is collusion between politicians, the police, the media and, in Leveson’s case, the judiciary to suppress and fail to act on information which will damage those with power, wealth or influence. You put yourself forward as someone who wishes to expose misbehaviour by such people, especially by the police and the media. You could not have a better story to use for that purpose than the one I have to tell. I hope you live up to your words and use it.
This is an especially good time to put the tale before the public because it looks as though Morgan is going to be pulled into the phone-hacking scandal. If he is, that will mean he also perjured himself before Leveson on that score.