Tag Archives: Tony Blair

Piers Morgan’s illegal receipt of information from the police, his perjury and Operation Elveden

Robert Henderson

On Monday 21 January I went to New Scotland Yard (NSY) with the intention of providing evidence to Operation Elveden  of Piers Morgan  and Jeff Edwards’ receipt of information illegally from the police and their perjury before the  Leveson Inquiry when they lied under oath.

I was unable to gain entry. Those on the entrance were insistent  that I would have to make an  appointment.  (I cannot help  but wonder what would have happened if I had turned up without an appointment to give, for example, evidence about a murder or terrorist plot: would it have been  “Sorry sir, we can’t see you without an appointment”?)  I  rang from outside the NSY   to try and arrange an immediate  appointment only to be told by the Met’s central switchboard that  no one was available to make the appointment. I left my details and a civilian worker phoned me later in the day and made an appointment for the local police  to visit me at 11.00 am on 22 January.  He gave me the case  reference CAD 3124/2/Jan.

Two uniformed PCs turned up from Holborn police station (I gave them the  details, but as they admitted themselves, the case was more than a little out of their normal range of work.   (That was precisely why I had gone directly to the NSY rather than ringing to make an appointment. I knew if I tried to make an appointment I would in all probability be  directed  to my local police station.  Some people may think it is a very curious thing that Operation Elveden does not have a direct phone line or public email address for those wishing to give information to use ).  In the circumstances I could do no more than run through the details  and pass on to the two PCs  the following documents:

1.Piers Morgan’s Letter to the PCC date 16 October 1997  in which he admits receiving information from the police in circumstances which can only have been illegal.  (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/12/20/piers-morgan-lied-to-the-leveson-inquiry/)

2. A copy of the Daily Mirror  story about me dated 25 March 1997 which produced the complaint to the PCC  which caused  Morgan to write the letter in which he admitted receiving information from the police in circumstances which can only have been illegal.  (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/the-failure-to-charge-piers-morgan-with-illicitly-receiving-information-from-the-police/)

3. Copies of the then director of Presswise Mike Jempson’s correspondence on my behalf with the PCC relating to the Mirror story dated 23 December 1997, 9 January 1998, 20 January 1998, 18 February 1998, 2 March 1998.

4. My evidence to the Leveson Inquiry of  Morgan ’s perjury dated 23 December 2011 (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/12/22/referral-of-piers-morgans-perjury-to-the-leveson-inquiry/).

5. My evidence to  the Leveson Inquiry of Edwards’ perjury dated 25 March 2012 (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/leveson-inquiry-jeff-edwards-and-another-prima-facie-case-of-perjury/).

6. My original submission to the Leveson Inquiry dated 25 November  2011 (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/11/25/the-leveson-inquiry-the-blairs-the-mirror-the-police-and-me/)

7. Sir Richard Body’s Early Day Motion 10th November 1999 which dealt with the general context of the events surrounding the Mirror story  with the role of the Blairs at its heart. (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/when-tony-and-cherie-blair-tried-to-have-me-jailed/)

8. A copy of my Wisden Cricket Article Is it in the Blood? (from the July 1995 edition). It was my gross mistreatment by the mainstream British media after the publication of the article that led me ultimately to write to the Blairs asking for their assistance after all other available avenues of redress had failed me (http://englandcalling.wordpress.com/2011/02/15/is-it-in-the-blood-and-the-hypocrisy-of-the-media/).

9. A letter addressed to the new head of Operation Elveden Deputy Assistant Commissioner  Steve Kavanagh dated 21 January 2013.  A copy of this is below.

On the 23 January 2013 I received an email advising me that the information I had given had been forwarded to Operation Elveden and a message was left on my answerphone   asking me to contact Operation Elveden on Friday 25 January.

That the two PCs found the matter somewhat daunting is  unsurprising as  it has a very heavy political loading  because of the involvement  Tony and Cherie Blair who had attempted to have me prosecuted during the first week of the 1997 General Election campaign under the Malicious Communications Act. So weak was this complaint that,  despite the Blairs’ celebrity and Labour’s  almost certain  win in the election which would make Blair Prime Minister, the Crown Prosecution Service rejected the complaint with a  firm NO CRIME on the same day it was submitted to them by the police for guidance.

I have restricted my complaints to Operation Elveden strictly to that which is within their remit.  However, these examples of criminality and misbehaviour by those with power or influence are only a small part of the overall story of the Blair Scandal.   My experience from 1997 to 2007 when Blair retired was of being in  a Kafkaesque world in which,  despite being subjected to harassment which ranged from death threats and an internet campaign which attempted incite violence against me to regular interference with my post, the police did not solve any of the crimes which I referred to them. This was scarcely surprising as they ignored the evidence I provided, no matter how strong it was.  The most blatant example of this behaviour was the failure of Det Supt Jeff Curtis of Scotland Yard  to question Piers Morgan and Jeff Edwards of the Mirror about receiving information illegally from the police even though they had the  letter from Morgan admitting he had received information from the police.  The Crown Prosecution Service and the Police Complaints Authority  backed up the failure of the police to investigate meaningfully or sufficiently by refusing any complaints of police inactivity which I referred to them.

The complicity of the elite went  far beyond crime. The mainstream media engaged in a conspiracy of silence after the publication of the Mirror story, neither allowing me a public voice nor even following up the Mirror story ;  The PCC repeatedly failed me; my MP Frank Dobson refused to help in any way, as did  institutions such as  Liberty  and the Index on Censorship. If I went to lawyers they would blanche as soon as they found the Blairs were involved and refused to act for me.

If I manage to get Operation Elveden to prosecute Blair and Edwards, it may be possible to bring the larger story to the mainstream media.    Let us hope so because one thing I can vouch for from long personal experience is that where people  with power and influence are involved the laws which govern us fall rapidly into abeyance.

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To

Deputy Assistant Commissioner  Steve Kavanagh

Operation Eleveden

Metropolitan Police

New Scotland Yard

8/10 The Broadway

London  SW1H OBG

(Tel: 0207 230 1212)

21 January 2013

CC Gerald Howarth MP

mark.lewis@thlaw.co.uk

Dear Mr Kavanagh,

I submit conclusive evidence that (1) the editor of a national newspaper  received information from the  police illicitly and (2) when questioned under oath at the Leveson Inquiry committed perjury by denying that he had ever received information illicitly from the police .

Piers Morgan

The editor in question is Piers Morgan when he edited the Daily Mirror.  The evidence of his receipt of information is beautifully simple: he admitted this in a letter to the PCC dated  16 October 1997 in which  he wrote “The police source of our article (whose identity we have a moral obligation to protect”.  If the information had been given legitimately there would be no reason for protecting the source.   Nor, because no charges were laid or investigation made, could there have been a legitimate reason  for releasing  the  information. A copy  of the letter is enclosed.

The  letter was sent to me after I complained to the PCC about a dramatically libellous article Morgan published about me on 25 March 1997  (copy enclosed).  The illicit information related to complaints made about me by Tony and Cherie Blair to Belgravia Police  in March 1997. I had written to them seeking their help and,  when they refused, I circulated copies of my letters and  the replies I received to the mainstream media at the beginning of the 1997 election campaign. The Blairs did not go to the police when I sent the letters, only after I circulated them to the media.  The  complaints  had so little substance  that they were dismissed by the CPS with the ruling “NO CRIME” within a few hours of them  being submitted to them for guidance by Belgravia Police.

The odds must be heavily on the  Mirror having paid for the information because it is difficult to see what other motive  a police officer would have for  releasing such information.  However, by accepting information illicitly from the police, whether or not money was paid, offences relating to Misconduct in a Public Office and  the Official  Secrets Act were committed, both by the police officer and Mirror employees including Morgan.  If money was paid by the Mirror to the police officer,  further offences arise under  the laws relating to corruption.

The evidence of Morgan’s  perjury before the Leveson Inquiry is contained in the copy of my submission to the Inquiry informing them of the perjury dated 22 December 2011 which I enclose.

I ask you to investigate both Morgan’s receipt of illicit information from the police and his perjury before Leveson.

Jeff Edwards

In addition to Morgan’s perjury, the Mirror reporter who wrote the story about me, their then  Chief Crime Reporter Jeff Edwards, also committed perjury before the Leveson Inquiry by denying ever receiving information illicitly from the police.   The details are included in the copy of my submission to the Inquiry informing them of the perjury dated  25 March 2012 which  I enclose .

As Edwards was the reporter who wrote the story to which Morgan referred in his letter to the PCC, he must have been the person to whom the police officer referred to in Morgan’s letter gave the illicit information. .

I ask you to investigate Edwards for his receipt of illicit information from the police and his perjury before Leveson.

The original police failure to meaningfully  investigate my complaint

In 1997 I made a complaint about the illicit supply of information about me by the police to the Mirror. The case was handled by Detective Superintendent Jeff Curtis of Scotland Yard .  No meaningful investigation was undertaken because, as Det Supt Curtis eventually admitted to me during a phone call, the  “investigation” was ended without anyone at the Mirror being  interviewed; not Morgan, Edwards or anyone else.   I enclose my final letter to  Det Supt Curtis dated 2 December 1999, Det Supt A Bamber’s reply to that letter 13 December 1999 and the PCA’s letter dated November 1999  refusing  to investigate further. This again is self-evidently absurd because of the  failure to question Morgan and Edwards.

I ask you to investigate Ian Curtis for perverting the course of justice by failing to investigate conclusive and incontrovertible evidence of  a serious crime.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

Blair’s very, very long Journey

This review of Blair’s Autobiography was published by the Quarterly Review (www.quarterly-review.org )in 2011

ROBERT HENDERSON endures the self-justificatory and selective memoirs of one of the worst PMs of modern times

Blair takes 691 pages to say what could have been fitted comfortably into 200. It is little more than an exercise in the author’s vanity. The other problem with A Journey is Blair’s ineptitude as a writer which extends not merely to tortured syntax, purple prose, the presentation of banality as profundity, a mania for short sentences and an addiction to cliché, but to a relationship with correct punctuation which does not extend much beyond the use of the full stop.

When it comes to their autobiographical offerings, Barack Obama and Tony Blair have much in common. Both massage their past shamelessly. Both are superficial in their approach to politics. Both unwittingly tell you things about themselves that directly contradict the persona they are carefully attempting to construct.

Blair also copies Obama in one highly suspect trait: he provides acres of dialogue. This is distinctly odd because, apart from a mention of an “intermittently” kept diary in 1983-5 (p60), there is no indication that Blair has kept any contemporaneous record of his life.

This supposed conversation in the House of Commons lobby between Blair and Peter Mandelson shortly after the death of the Labour leader John Smith in 1994 will give the flavour. Blair is pressing Mandelson to support him rather than Gordon Brown for the vacant leadership:

“[Mandelson] ‘Now, let’s not run away with all this. Gordon is still the front-runner, still the person with the claim.’

As ever with Peter in a situation like this, you could never be quite sure what he was saying; but I was sure what I wanted to say.

‘Peter’, I said, ‘you know I love you, but this is mine. I am sure of it. And you must help me to do it.’

‘I wouldn’t be too sure about that,’ he said. For once, there was no playfulness; and for a moment we stood, looking at each other by the green leather-topped table at the north side of the Aye Lobby.

‘Peter,’ I said, putting a hand on each shoulder, ‘don’t cross me over this. This is mine. I know it and I will take it.’

‘You can’t be certain of that,’ he replied.

‘I understand.’ I spoke gently this time, the friendship fully back in my voice. ‘But just remember what I said.’

Someone entered the lobby. As if by telepathy, we moved apart and went in different directions.” (pp62/3)

Apart from the extreme improbability of anyone accurately remembering a conversation from 16 years before, there is the oddity of a relationship between two men in their forties rendered in a manner disconcertingly reminiscent of a Mills & Boon novel by a man now aged 57. Note also Blair’s willingness to threaten someone he claims as a close friend.

The man also has a curious lack of dignity. He does not seem to understand that it is unseemly for a former prime minister to write something like this:

“On that night of 12 May 1994, I needed that love that Cherie gave me, selfishly. I devoured it to give me strength. I was an animal following my instinct… “ (p65)

Blair frequently builds up his character as being one thing, then forgets the script and sabotages his intention. For example, he constantly attempts to represent himself as being in politics not from any vulgar ambition but because he wishes to serve the country. Suddenly this pops up:

“I was almost forty. I had been in Opposition for a decade. The thought of another five years of merely incremental steps towards change in the party that was so obviously needed, filled me with dismay. If the steps were too incremental, we might fail again and I would be fifty before even getting sight of government; and what was the point of politics if not to win power, govern and put into practice the policies you believe in?” (p51)

So, it was vulgar ambition after all.

Blair may not “do God” very much in A Journey, although he assures us before he ends that “I have always been more interested in religion than politics” (p690), but he certainly wants us to think that he was in some mysterious way called to be the saviour of his country. Here he is visiting the Commons for the first time before he was an MP:

“I walked into the cavernous Central Lobby where the public meet their MPs, and I stopped. I was thunderstruck. It just hit me. This was where I wanted to be. It was very odd. Odd because so unlike me, and odd because in later times I was never known as a ‘House Commons man’. But there and then, I had a complete presentiment: here I was going to be. This was my destiny. This was my political home. I was going to do whatever it took to enter it.” (p34)

Blair’s fraught relationship with Gordon Brown threads its way through the book with Blair’s character assessment of Brown – “ Political calculation, yes. Political feelings, no. Analytical intelligence, absolutely. Emotional intelligence, zero.” (p616) – bleakly summarising the state of relations between them at the end.

Blair several times addresses the question of why he did not sack Brown. He attempts to explain this by saying Brown was a brilliant chancellor, but capsizes this line on p494 with “By then [2003], even more so than in 2001, removing Gordon would have brought the entire building tumbling down around our ears. He had massive support in the party and had backing among powerful people in the media.”

So there you have it. He did not sack Brown for the crudest of political reasons, to keep himself in power.

Tellingly, having described Brown as a great chancellor and a brilliant intellect throughout the book, Blair is silent on Brown’s failure to foresee the financial disaster we are currently enjoying. Instead he employs one of his favourite scapegoats, the incompetent expert:

“The failure was one of understanding. We didn’t spot it. You can argue we should have, but we didn’t. Furthermore, and this is vital for where we go now on regulation, it wasn’t that we were powerless to prevent it even if we had seen it coming; it wasn’t a failure of regulation in the sense that we lacked the power to intervene. Had regulators said to the leaders that a huge crisis was about to break, we wouldn’t have said: There’s nothing we can do about it until we get more regulation through  We would have acted. But they didn’t say that.” (pp666/7)

Yet the greatest political hate object of Tony Blair is not Gordon Brown but the Labour Party. Tony Benn’s views amounted to a “virus” (p45) and old Labour was “more like a cult than a party” (p89) before Blair appeared on a white progressive horse to turn it into New Labour. How did he do this? By ignoring the party:

“In order to circumvent the party, what I had done was construct an alliance between myself and the public.”

Blair is also consistently snide about his immediate predecessors as leader, always decrying them not only for their politics but their personal failings, for example, John Smith was “a stupendous toper” (p37).  Unsurprisingly in the light of this attitude, Blair toyed with the idea of bringing Lib Dem MPs into his cabinet because

“I was closer in political outlook to some of them than to parts of the old left of my own party [and] …Re-uniting the two wings of progressive social democracy appealed to my sense of history.” (pp118/119)

There are a few genuinely startling things in the book. Take this anecdote about the Sinn Féin leaders:

“In October 2006, while I was at St Andrews for the Northern Ireland negotiation with Ian Paisley and Sinn Féin, General Sir Richard Dannatt, the new Chief of General Staff, gave an interview to the Daily Mail essentially saying that we had reached the end in Iraq, we were as much a risk to security as keeping it and we should transfer our attention to Afghanistan where, in effect, we had a better chance. As you can imagine, I wasn’t best pleased, my humour not improved by Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams telling me the IRA would never have had one of their generals behaving like that.” (p470)

“One of their generals”? Sinn Féin has always claimed to be separate from the Provisional IRA. Improbable as this may seem to most people, this line was always supported by British governments from John Major onwards. Yet here we have Blair claiming that the two most influential public faces of Sinn Féin casually admitted that they directly controlled the Provos.

Those who still believe that the police enforce the law without political interference will have their illusions shattered by passages such as this on the fuel duty protests which briefly panicked Blair’s government in 2000:

“I looked at the police officer. ‘Tell me what you are going to do to stop the protests.’

‘Stop the protests?’ he said, his eyes narrowing slightly. ‘You mean you want us to prevent them taking place?’

‘Yes,’ I said, very calm. ‘And I want you the oil companies to instruct your drivers to cross the picket lines, and if they don’t, for reasons anything other than fear of violence to their person, I want you to sack them. And I would like the army to come in and if necessary drive your tankers, and if they meet with any violence from protesters, I want you the police to deal with them very firmly, and if not, to let the army take care of them. They’re very good at it.” (p295).

Then there is Blair’s appetite for gratuitous war-mongering which is surely greater than any other British PM. His utter recklessness is shown when he tries unsuccessfully to persuade Bill Clinton to commit 150,000 men to a land invasion of Kosovo  with half coming from Europe despite the fact that he admits he “had no clear reason to believe Europe would contribute any troops other than UK ones…” (p239).

Despite the mess left by the Kosovo adventure, Blair learns nothing:

“I’m afraid, however, that Kosovo had not diminished my appetite for such intervention where I thought it essential to resolve a problem that needed resolution, and where a strong moral case could be made.”(p246).

Though he does not realise it, Blair is carrying on the old imperial idea of bringing civilisation to the benighted natives, believing

“We thought the ultimate triumph of our way of life was inevitable.”(p665).

Blair is remarkably dishonest in his omissions. Take immigration:

“The truth is that immigration, unless properly controlled, can cause genuine tensions, put a strain on limited resources and provide a sense in the areas into which migrants come in large numbers that the community has lost control of its own future. In our case this concern was the numbers involved. It was not inspired by racism. And it was widespread. What’s more, there were certain categories of it from certain often highly troubled parts of the world, with their own internal issues, from those troubled parts of the towns and villages in Britain. Unsurprisingly, this caused real anxiety.” (p524)

A reader unfamiliar with Blair’s premiership might imagine from those words that he made strenuous efforts to control the influx. The reality is that he presided over the greatest surge in immigration into Britain ever seen. Yet Blair does not acknowledge this and fails to mention the single biggest encouragement to immigration during his time in No 10 – the failure to put restrictions on the movement of people from the new EU entrants such as Poland, which resulted in at least half a million migrants in a very short time. All Blair does is complain about asylum seekers.

The lasting impression left by the book is not of a career politician but of an adolescent living out his fantasies and satisfying his exhibitionist urges. When these inevitably lead to disaster,  like adolescents everywhere he refuses to take responsibility and drifts ever further into a fantasy world in which he is never wrong merely misunderstood. That such a child was the most powerful man in Britain for ten years is a truly frightening thought.

How the rich and powerful get away with murder: a look behind the elite veil

Robert Henderson

The cataract of misbehaviour by those with power, wealth and influence flows ever more freely into the British media.  Presently  we have the  ever expanding Jimmy Savile paedophile revelations – especially with reference to the BBC – and the drug taking amongst cyclists headed by Lance Armstrong hogging the headlines.  Following the nationalisation of  Northern  Rock in 2007  there has been  the never ending story of  recklessness, greed, selfishness and outright criminality of  bankers and their close cousins in the finance industry.  For the past year the Leveson Inquiry has been  turning over the stones hiding the  immoral behaviour of those in the British press and the collusion between the press and the police, most notably in the supply of information  by the police to the press  (and doubtless  to broadcasters as well). The scandal of greed and in some cases outright criminality of British politicians, both elected and unelected, in filling their pockets  from the public purse for bogus expenses continues to this day with the revelation that some MPs are claiming expenses for London accommodation when they already have a property there and then renting out one of the  properties  to other MPs , a fact that they tried with the Speaker’s support to censor, while the one-time Labour minister Denis McShane  has been caught forging invoices from a non-existent organisation which he submitted to the taxpayer for payment.   To all that can be added a practice which effectively legalises corruption, namely, the allowing of politicians and public servants to take well paid sinecures or act as lobbyists for organisations which seek government contracts and other favours such as amending legislation to make it more favourable or dropping proposed legislation within two years of leaving office or public employment.

It might be thought that all of the serious scandals have been  brought to  public attention.   Not a bit of it.  Those with [power wealth and influence in Britain  routinely manage to escape the consequences of behaviour which if committed by the ordinary man or woman  would result in the loss of their job at best and criminal charges at worst.  Frequently not only are the consequences of immorality avoided by the powerful and influential, their behaviour is hidden from the public because they never make the mainstream media.  In addition,  they suppress stories which do not involve their own misbehaviour but  are embarrassing to them or  damaging to someone associated with them.

To take a few examples from this website of stories involving the powerful and influential which have never made it to the mainstream media.  There is the  attempted suicide of Tony Blair’s daughter in 2004,  the refusal of Lord Leveson to investigate  Piers Morgan’s admission in a letter to the PCC  of having received information from the police in circumstances which can only have been illegal and Gordon Brown’s illegal interference when prime minister with the bidding for a prime piece of  publicly owned  London land . These stories can be respectively  found at

https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2010/10/02/the-blair-daughters-attempted-suicide-and-the-publics-right-to-know/

https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2012/10/25/piers-morgan-perjury-the-police-the-leveson-inquiry-and-denis-macshane/

https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2012/09/09/the-new-leader-of-the-greens-knows-how-to-keep-mum/ )

But the most dramatic story on the blog which has been suppressed by the mainstream media is Tony and Cherie Blair’s unsuccessful attempt to have me prosecuted during the 1997 General Election Campaign and their subsequent use of state power to harass me.  The details can be found  at https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/when-tony-and-cherie-blair-tried-to-have-me-jailed/.

But it is not only the media who are complicit with the powerful.  Politicians, those supposedly responsible for upholding the law – the police and the Crown Prosecution Service and judges –  and the various bodies and individuals employed to enforce codes of practice all engage in behaviour designed to prevent the powerful and influential being brought to book. Time and again members of the British elite have well documented  cases of  criminal behaviour referred to  police and they do result in prosecution.  Time and again misbehaviour, whether criminal or simply immoral, is referred to bodies such as the Standards and Privileges Committee . The cases of Adam Werrity (who falsely represented himself as a special advisor to the then defence minister  Liam Fox (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-20159699) and the previously mentioned McShane (whose behaviour was deemed not to be criminal by the police despite his forging of invoices to gain thousands from the taxpayer) are good recent  examples of these types of behaviour and the refusal of the Metropolitan Police to investigate Peter Mandelson’s  false declaration on a mortgage application form a particularly blatant example from the past (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/07/07/laws-are-for-little-people-the-mandelson-mortgage-fraud-cover-up/).

The public rarely gets to see behind the scenes to see the mechanics of how things are fudged and covered up.  I can lift the veil a little from direct experience. In 2000 I spent more than an hour with the then Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Elizabeth Filkin.  The interview was recorded and a transcript is below.

I made a number of complaints to Filkin regarding the Blairs and  my MP Frank Dobson’s response to my request for  assistance after Blair had tried and failed to have me prosecuted.  (I also made a detailed submission to Filkin regarding Mandelson’s mortgage application).  Filkin was absolutely determined not to   get involved with the Blair and Dobson complaints and tried to prevent the meeting at the last minute as you will see from the telephone message above the transcript.  Nonetheless I did manage to work the subject of Blair into the interview  on the question of the Code of Conduct for MPs. In the end Filkin was reduced to saying in effect that she did not hold MPs to the standards of the Code of Conduct and the interview generally shows how impossible it is for someone without power, wealth or influence, in this case me, to get any action taken over elite misbehaviour.

Robert Henderson 5 11 2012

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Telephone message left on Robert Henderson’s answerphone 2/5/2000 by Mrs Elizabeth Filkin, The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards in Public Life.

EF: Good morning Mr Henderson. It’s Elizabeth Filkin. You may like to return this call. I am happy to meet you tomorrow as I have agreed, but I am not happy to discuss any of the matters that are in your letter of the 24 of the fourth which I have received today. Those are all matters that you have written to me about, that I have considered and I am not willing to take further. If you have got other matters to talk about you are welcome to come tomorrow, but if these are the only ones that are outstanding, I am afraid there is no point in meeting. Perhaps you will let me know.

Interview between Robert Henderson and Miss Elizabeth Filkin, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards in Public Life on 3rd may 2000. The interview began at 11.01 and ended at 11.55 am. Mrs Filkin was aware that the recording was being made and agreed to it being made.

RH: I will send you a copy of the tape afterwards, obviously. Now, as we didn’t speak yesterday Mrs Filkin, I am a little bit in the dark about exactly what the problem was with discussing the other matters. I haven’t come along to break my word and say I am going to try and raise those matters, but if you can just clarify exactly why you won’t discuss the matters which I have already raised with you.  I…go on, sorry…

EF: Let me say immediately, I am happy to discuss anything, but I am not happy to re-open and waste your time with a discussion of whether I’ll look into the complaints that I have  already looked at in great detail from you and decided that they aren’t things that I can look at. And please be clear about it, I am not in any way saying that I am not sympathetic and I am not in any way saying that it might be that some of the these other matters ought to be looked into by other bodies. What I have said are that they are not matters I can look into. What I didn’t want to do is, obviously, to waste your time, so that’s why I informed you and that’s my position.

RH: Right. I presume that if I have got new evidence on these matters you wouldn’t say automatically you wouldn’t look at the evidence.

EF: No, of course not. If you have new evidence you should write to me and put that to me.

RH: Well, I will do that obviously.

EF: And, of course, as always I will happily look at it. But if, as numbers of your complaints did, they relate to peoples activities as ministers or prime ministers, they are not for me. I cannot look into those things. I have no mandate to look into those things.

RH: That is one of the matters I want to discuss with you this morning,  that is the question of the Code of Conduct of members, because I don’t want to waste your time anymore than you want to waste my time. Now, as I understand it, correct me if I’m wrong, but  the Code of Conduct for members comes within your remit, yes?

EF: That’s so.

RH: Right. Now you see this is where I have a big difficulty with you, and you know I have asked you the question over and over again, it’s on this particular one []and there are several parts of it, but on one particular one – it’s the “Members shall at all times conduct themselves in a manner which will tend to maintain and strengthen the public’s trust etc.” All right? Now, could you give me some sort of guidance on what you think that particular part of the Code of Conduct would actually cover, I mean if it doesn’t cover going to the police and making allegations which they must have known were bogus, I can’t see what purpose it serves.

EF: I can’t tell you what the House, the people who made those decisions, what they meant by their Code of Conduct, should mean. All I can do is say to you is that I have a job which is if I get a complaint from…about a member of parliament’s conduct I have to look at it against that Code of Conduct and I have to make a judgement as to whether – the first thing I have to do is make a judgement as to whether what the person has done is in any way in relation to their [duties] as a member of Parliament. And then of course I have to make a judgement I believe that they have acted in good faith or not.

RH: Can I just butt in there because it does seem to me that – to be honest with you I don’t envy you having to try to sort the bones out of it because a lot of this is simply unrealistic and if was actually put in to operation the whole of the House would come to a dead halt. But at the same time you will see from my own point of view that I must press it, even though I may realise, as an ex-civil servant, that it is not the easiest thing…

EF: I totally understand that if as you say anybody has made bogus allegations about you or about anybody else that is awful and it’s very distressing.

RH: But, it is particularly dangerous when it is the Prime Minister and his wife.

EF: Well, I don’t want to get into individuals..

RH: Well, I…

EF: I am not going to get into individuals.

RH: These are the complaints I have…

EF: I am not going to get into talking about individuals. What I am saying to you …I fully understand that it is very distressing, and it happens to a lot of people in public life and it’s very distressing, but it seems to me that.. there isn’t something that I need to look into.

RH: But surely it would breach that particular …

EF: Just let me finish. Because if a person, whoever they are, makes an allegation to the police, it seems to me that the police then have, as the properly constituted authority, whose job it is to look into it the complaint and dismiss it if there is nothing there, which they do every day and therefore it is no task for me to re-enter that and if a person has raised an allegation about you and the police have looked into it, and [dismissed it], as far as I am concerned that’s the end of the matter. I am not going to double track other authorities or other bodies who have powers and activities to carry out these investigations.  So I am not going to get into that.

RH: Well, you see there is the non-legal point about this. You have got the man who is the prime minister – and I can’t avoid raising his particular name  or position  simply because he went to the police and he did so in his position as leader of the opposition and also in his position of prospective prime minister and he did that in the first week of the election campaign and he tried to get me put in prison. Now, the fact that he is also a barrister and his wife is a QC, seems to me to suggest that they should have been in the position to know – well you’ve read my letters to them – they should have been in a position to know that in fact my letters could not possibly have constituted any criminal offence  whatsoever. All right?

EF: That’s a matter for the police and I leave it to them.

RH: It comes into conduct as well, because it is obviously sinister if you have got a senior politician attempting – because he only went to the police after I had circulated my letters to the media – it’s very sinister just as behaviour to try to go to the police to get me prosecuted on charges he must have known were bogus in an attempt obviously to both discredit me and silence me is sinister. Now, there is also the fact that – I don’t think you have ever seen the original stories [RH produces Mirror and Daily Record stories] – but in fact two weeks after, or slightly less than two weeks after these were published – that was on the front page and that was the actual story. Now, I really do not believe the Mirror would have published a story like that without Blair’s say-so and every single journalist I have spoken to has fingered Alistair Campbell for it, all right? Now,  you have read the text of that because you have read “The  criminal acts of Tony and Cherie Blair. This also appeared on the same day in the Daily Herald, all right, sorry the Daily Record up in Scotland which is the Mirror’s sister paper. Now that again isn’t criminal behaviour as such unless you want to call it criminal libel which I would, but it again would come within the ambit of this “member shall at all times conduct themselves in the manner.”

EF: Mr Henderson, I fully appreciate your point of view. Don’t think that I don’t understand, I fully understand and I understand your distress. I have no issue with you about that. What I have said to you that I am not going to investigate this and I say it to you again, I am not going to investigate this – you can go talking about it if you want to – but I am not going to investigate again, you can go on talking about it if you want to – but I am not going to re-open any investigation, which has already been looked at by the police. That is not my job.

RH: I am not actually making a complaint about the police here, I am making a complaint about his [Blair’s]  general behaviour of attempting, as a senior politician, of attempting to stifle debate by going to the police, because,  as I say,  he only went  to the police  six weeks after my last letter to him. So he didn’t go there because he was frightened of what the letters were, he went there because he wanted to discredit me and,  when he couldn’t get the police to do his dirty work, or the CPS , he got those out into the public fold [in the Daily Herald] and the Mirror, which as I will show you in a letter in a moment which you haven’t seen before, actually admits that they never saw the letters before they published that story.

EF: That’s an issue for the [Press] Complaints Commission.

RH: Well, again you can’t divorce the story from Blair, because as I say to suppose the Mirror would have published [on their own initiative] that story at that time when Blair was enduring the six most important weeks of his life is plainly absurd. But I don’t want to get too sidetracked into that. I still cannot see for the life of me how Blair’s behaviour in going to the police and then putting that out – I don’t think anybody you know who was a disinterested third party would have much doubt that he was involved in that. Then, on top of  that, having moved the security services to open up a file on me and keep me under surveillance – they’re still doing it because I have got the evidence from the post coming through the door. All right? Now we are talking about three years afterwards and they are still doing it, and I  suspect that they are tapping my phone as well.  I can’t actually prove that because the modern means of phone tapping are so subtle that you just haven’t got a clue whether they are[tapping]  or not. But if they are opening my post three years afterwards, I have got to assume they are doing that and I have got to assume that they are also reading all my e-mail traffic Now, again, that is only something which is being done on Blair’s say-so. Blair could stop that tomorrow just by issuing an instruction, but he is not doing it. And again that would come, I would argue most strongly, within this “Members shall at all times…” etc.

EF: Well, I understand your point of view.

RH: But what I have never had from your letters is a detailed explanation of why you do not think that covers not just Blair’s [behaviour] but also all the others [of whom I have complained] . Don’t think  for a moment that I am only interested in Blair, I am also interested in all the other ones including…

EF: I am afraid you are not going to get a general explanation, because it’s not mine to give you. That’s the House of Commons’ responsibility.

RH: Yes, but you have to interpret it, don’t you?

EF: My job is to look at individual complaints and decide whether there is anything in there which I should properly investigate and if it befalls to investigate it and which as you know I did in relation to and I shall do so again if I believe it comes within my remit and I shall do it as vigorously as I did that in that case. So there is no issue as far as I am concerned I am not of the view that a member of the public or a member of the cabinet, or the leader of the Opposition, or the prime minister or anything else going to the police and making an allegation which may be totally untrue and regrettable is in itself something which I should look into because I believe…

RH: How does that not bring the house into disrepute?

EF: I don’t think it does. That is a job for the police to get involved in, and if they find the complaints are bogus the person concerned if they wish can have a [summons issued] But it isn’t for me to look into and I have to say to you again I am not going to look into that. I have to say to you again that I am not going to look into it. It isn’t something for me.

RH: What about the newspaper stories?

EF: The newspaper stories are not for me, You have not produced any evidence that any member of Parliament has been putting out newspaper stories improperly.

RH: What about evidence which I think I have already given you but I will refer to it again, of Blair making inflammatory statements about me to the police? He describes me as…

EF: That’s for the police. That’s not for me to investigate.

RH: Well, again that’s his misbehaviour rather than the actual complaint.

EF: Well, I…

RH: Sorry, go on. I am just going to get something to show you.

EF: I can’t, I can’t say strongly enough that I understand the distress you feel about this matter.

RH: But it’s not just distress, I am still in danger because he can at any time have me arrested on a trumped up charge or whatever.

EF: I’m not in any way trying to belittle that, in any way, but I am saying firmly to you that it is not a matter for me and I am not going to investigate it and I am not going to comment further on it to you.

RH: Well, here’s some new evidence which you said you would look at if I wanted. Now that’s something I’ve got using the Data Protection Act. That’s a log from the CPS. Have a look at the line – I have put a asterisk against [it] ” – agreed a line to take with Mr Henderson”. This was when I was querying what the Blair’s were doing making complaints. Now as an ex-civil servant I know what “agreed a line” means and I am sure that you know what “agreed a line means”. It means we will concoct a story, quite often an outright lie, to tell to the general public or whoever is making the enquiry. And I’ve got lots more like that. []  I haven’t come along here to flood you with paper today because that would be unproductive, but again just one or two other documents, the Mirror – they admit they have had no…

EF: That’s a matter for them. It isn’t a matter for me. It’s a matter for the Mirror or the …..

RH: OK what about the [CPS]? Would you comment on the CPS?

EF: That’s entirely a matter for the police. If you think the police have acted improperly, i.e. that they have concocted as you think a statement with anybody improperly then take it up with the police complaints authority. It is not a matter for me.

RH: Shall I tell you what the complaints authority say. I did of course make a complaint, as you might well imagine, about all of this – well what I would describe it as a straightforward perversion of the course of justice – and what happened was the head of the complaints department, Commander Quinn, said he would not record the complaint. I then made  a complaint to the PCA. They say unless he records the complaint they can’t proceed with it. So we are in a ridiculous Catch 22 situation whereby all the police have to do to get rid of a complaint is not record it.

EF: That isn’t a matter for me.

RH: No, I am merely answering your question. What I am saying to you here, is that I have made a whole series of complaints at various times – about six on specific matters including the Blairs’ attempt to pervert the course of justice – and on every single occasion I have had the same response. They will go through the motions. They are frightened enough to send down a Det. Superintendent to take a statement from me in my flat, from Scotland Yard this was. Now, if you know anything about the police you will realise that to get a Det. Superintendent out on anything is very difficult and to get him to come out in person to take a statement is virtually unknown. So they are worried enough. So they go through the motions, but they will go never ever give me an explanation of why they will not proceed, even though,  in the case of the Mirror,  I have given them a copy of the particular letter which I showed you [] which actually says  that they got the information from a serving police officer in circumstances which obviously could only have been illegal , but they still will not go and investigate it. Now I am not saying that goes directly against Blair other than to show that for me to go and make complaints to the police is pointless.  I do make them because it is on the record then. But effectively what happens is that whenever a complaint is made involving Blair or someone peripheral to the Blairs they won’t investigate it honestly. Sometimes it’s as corruptly done as Quinn did it, other times they get to the stage where they are worried enough to actually send people out to take statements, go through the motions then do nothing. All that happens is that you get something back from the CPS that says we are not proceeding for lack of evidence, which of course they will never actually elaborate on. So what I am saying to you is essentially unless I can get Blair out into -the Blair story out into the open, I am in danger, because I have got no protection, the police won’t protect me.

EF: I understand your position.

RH: I cannot even get a lawyer.

EF: This isn’t something I can take up.

RH: Well I would say that it…Ok, I will not belabour the point.

EF: I can understand your point of view, but it isn’t a matter that I can, I am, going to investigate. I am not going to investigate it.

RH: All right, as I say I am not going to belabour the point because there are other genuine matters I want to raise today as well.

EF: Fine, let’s move on shall we.

RH: I do think I still haven’t got an explanation of why – I know I keep coming back to this but is really the heart of the matter – why the sort of behaviour I have been describing this morning and also the behaviour of Dobson my MP as well [is not within your remit]… I mean that again is surely something which comes within the Code of Conduct. Actually there is another point isn’t there which actually puts [RH refers to Code of Conduct] right, ” members have general duty to act in the interests of the nation as a whole and a special duty to their constituents”. How has Dobson done that when he won’t actually investigate my complaint when I take the Mirror story to him?

EF: It isn’t my job to look into how a member of Parliament deals with Individual constituents.

RH: Well it says differently there. It says a special duty to his constituents.

EF: Yes, but that is not part of what I am required to do.

RH: Sorry, how would you interpret that statement then “a special duty to their constituents.

EF: This is a general, if you like, entreaty that they make to their own Code of Conduct to there members about the sorts of behaviour they would expect of an MP and those things are in writing in those terms. But the individual – how a member of parliament a decision on an individual case to pursue matters a constituent or not is up to the MP and I am sure you can understand that. Members of Parliament have whole range of different constituents, with a whole range of different views and a whole range views and a whole range of different things and they have to make judgements all the time about what they do or not pursue.

RH: I can accept your explanation [in as much as ] I am quite sure that is how MPs would like the system to work.

EF: All I can tell you is that my remit does not run to investigating these things.

RH: So,  effectively, your remit doesn’t run to the code of conduct for Members of Parliament?

EF: That is not true. I use the Code of Conduct against which I judge whether or not Members of Parliament have acted Parliament wished them to do. I ideally use it as my guide as though I …

RH: It does say special duty.

EF: … Is how members of Parliament have dealt with individual requests from individual constituents. I have to say that sadly to many members of the public daily because of course many members of the public come to my office with concerns about how their member of parliament has proceeded and that isn’t something I may look into.

RH: Well, again…. OK you use it as guide. Now, it doesn’t say a general duty in that particular part of the Code of Conduct, it actually says they have a special duty to their constituents. I mean, how would you honestly interpret that? I am still not clear how if you are using it as a guide…

EF: I am not happy with this conversation.

RH: Well…

EF: I am trying my best to answer your questions. What you are then doing is saying you disagree me. I understand you that you disagree with me and I respect your disagreement, but I don’t then have to say anything different.

RH: Well, I’m asking for clarification.

EF: I’m sorry, I have got nothing further to say on that. I have done my best to give you an answer.

RH: OK. Fair enough. I mean a non-answer is often more useful than an answer as such.

EF: I resent your calling my description…

RH: Well, I have asked you…

EF: of what the standards and privileges committee made clear to me which is that I do not investigate complaints about how an MP treats an individual constituent as a non-answer.

RH: No, no, I wasn’t saying that was a non-answer.

EF: It is a non-answer it is not a non-answer. It is an answer.

RH: No, no, I wasn’t saying it was a non-answer to that. It was my next question of how you would interpret the phrase “special duty to their constituents”.

EF: I interpret that as I already as I have already explained that members of Parliament do of course have a special duty to their constituents above other people in the country and that’s generally accepted.

RH: Right, so again – I am not going to belabour it if you don’t want to answer – but if they have got a special duty to their constituents that must mean they must act reasonably towards those constituents. I think that would be inherently implied. Would you disagree with that?

EF: I am not going to continue with this.

RH: No OK, if you don’t want to answer…

EF: It’s a waste of time.

RH: OK. I did preface my statement with the fact that I wasn’t going [further] if you do not want to answer the questions – I won’t be going to press it. Now, I have got quite a lot of stuff being passed to me by MPs at the moment, but  as you only came back to me yesterday with the statement that you weren’t willing to discuss the letters, sorry the complaints, I had already put in, as you will appreciate,  I did not have time to amass a great deal of [new] stuff.  However,  I will go over one or two things with one of them is [already] public. Now,  you have probably heard the story of Jack Straw’s brother William?

EF: Yes…

RH: OK. He was arrested or went to a police station and made a confession concerning some illegal sexual acts with his son, all right?. Punch has actually published the basic details of it. Now this is the second time that – and the scandal here is that, or possible scandal, is that in fact he , that is the brother, has not been charged with anything, all right, even though he’s made a confession of serious sexual misconduct with his fourteen year old son. That’s all in the story, it’s not just me [saying it] . I originally came across it on the internet and then about a week or so afterwards Punch published it. Now I have written twice to Jack Straw and if you have a quick look through there…..

EF: That is not for me.

RH: Well hold on, let me finish what I am going to say. I have written twice to Jack Straw asking him to clarify that particular story because what the story is suggesting is that he, Jack Straw, has interfered with the normal police process.  I don’t think you can possibly say [that] didn’t fall within your remit.

EF: I have got no evidence. You have given me no evidence of that anyone has interfered with anything….

RH: I have…I have, because there’s no denying that Jack Straw’s brother has been to the police, right? This is part of the story. They have got quotes from the police, they have quotes…

EF: I cannot…

RH: Just one second. They have got quotes from the police, they have got quotes from the press office all right? And there is absolutely enough for you to start thinking about it, because…

EF: I’m not interested.

RH: Well…

EF: I cannot be interested. The Code specifically forbids me, I cannot be interested in what is a newspaper article. I have to have evidence, and, I’m sorry, I have to have evidence – that is required by the code before I can take an interest in investigating a complaint.

RH: What about Ken Livingstone? You did that purely on newspaper cuttings.

EF: I did not.

RH: The person who wrote to you supplied newspaper reports. That’s where he got his information from.

EF: I know, but people have to provide other evidence then.

RH: What other evidence could he have provided?

EF: I’m sorry I’m not willing to discuss [the] case.

RH: I am not talking about here – I’m not asking you to disclose anything confidential, what I’m saying to you is that the evidence was the newspaper, right? Plus obviously [details] in the published accounts.

EF: Sure.

RH: With this again I can understand it, Mrs Filkin, in a way,  and also why you are not acting on this, but I put it to you not just with Jack Straw, but with the Mandelson thing, with Robinson – I mean Robinson has been accused of the most fantastic fraud which you have already got details of in that EuroBusiness article. He has taken no legal action. Now,  there does come a point where one has to ask, you know, what exact evidence does one have to produce;  I mean, there you have got the fact that Straw is not denying his brother went to the police, right? He doesn’t deny it?

EF: There is nothing improper with people going to the police.

RH: No no, what I’m saying is that he does not deny that his brother has been to the police and has made a confession.

EF: Well, what’s wrong with that? If that’s the truth why shouldn’t he go?

RH: Because you then have the question of perverting the course justice. You’ve got to ask why hasn’t he been charged.

EF: Well, there are a hundred reasons why people are not charged I have no evidence of an improper reason.

RH: I will put it in writing to you and you can have a look at it at your leisure. These are all massively important accusations of misbehaviour. There is not one [which is trivial],  even the one about Gordon Brown. That is a serious piece of misconduct if it’s true. But some of the ones I have given you, particularly the one concerning Blair obviously, but again with somebody like Straw [it is important because of their positions]. It’s the Home Secretary; we are not talking about Joe Soap in the street , we are talking about the man who actually has  responsibility for law enforcement in this country. Now, it does seem to me reasonable that if the brother of that man is taken in, or goes to the police whichever it was, and makes a confession of a serious crime and no prosecution occurs or he is not even charged, then that in itself is a matter of public concern.  I mean not just of concern to me but of public concern.

EF: Yes, but is not anything I can deal with .

RH: Well, again,  I am not going to belabour the point on the code of conduct because you have already made clear what your position is on that. The only things I would ask you to reflect on after I’ve gone are these:  (1) what a general member of the public would think after they had read the Code of Conduct and then compared it with the action you are or are not taking, and (2), how it would be dealt with under judicial review. I know that this is a very difficult constitutional position because it’s only a motion of the House of Commons, which has set it up rather than a statute. Right? That’s correct isn’t it, the Code of Conduct is merely a motion of the House of Commons?

EF: The Code of Conduct and my office is not open to judicial review.

RH: Right, well, when you say that’s not open to judicial review I cannot necessarily see how that can be so as it’s not a statute. Because, all right, I can argue the constitution position…

EF: Do try and pursue a judicial review case if you want to. All I can do is give you the information which I have just given you.

RH: You see if it is only a motion of the House…

EF: I can’t get into this. I’m not a constitutional lawyer I’m not going to make any comment on it. I have just taken advice on that and I understand that is the situation. But you are welcome to challenge it.

RH: Right. Backing up the sort of thing which goes on in terms of not pursuing the law when it happens to be someone in the position of political authority, we have also got that – [copy of NoW story dated passed to Filkin] again that’s Blair’s father-in-law. He was nabbed for defrauding the Benefits Agency, defrauding the Child Support Agency and housing benefit. He wasn’t prosecuted. He had £10,000 in a Swiss bank account and he was also working at the time, right?  Now, as ex-Inland Revenue person I can tell you that meets all the criteria for the DSS to prosecute. OK?

EF: That is not a matter for me. If you think the DSS is acting improperly should prosecute there is a perfectly good way of getting that [ ] and you should do that.

RH: Well again it’s behaviour which is suggests that there is some political interference here.

EF: I’ve got no evidence to suggest that. What you say is that you have evidence that the DSS has acted improperly and if they have you should take it to the Ombudsman.

RH: Right. Now, we’ve got Mr Sheldon who is the chairman of your particular committee you report to, right?  Now, suppose I make a complaint about Mr Sheldon not disclosing some of his interests on the Register. How – what is going to be the position – I won’t go into any great detail today – what is actually going to be the position Mrs Filkin if…

EF: Everyone in the House of Commons is treated by me exactly equally and any member of any committee, any senior politician – and I would have thought by now that you would be aware of that from my published reports – they are all treated exactly the same with absolutely no fear no favour …

RH: I couldn’t agree with that in the case of the Mandelson report which I know intimately, but anyway go on.

EF: All I can say is you haven’t read it.

RH: I have not only read it, but I’ve written a substantial article which I sent you.

EF: Yes, you obviously haven’t read my report, properly, and… but what I assure you – I would have thought that the evidence was there but you disagree with it – but if I have any complaint about anyone whoever they are, whatever their position, of course if there is evidence to support it, then I will look into it.

RH: Right, but what about Mr Sheldon’s own position on the committee?  He can scarcely sit as chairman.

EF: That’s a matter for the committee and it’s a matter for the House. It is not a matter for me. My reports are written totally independently, totally independently. They are presented to the committee and the Committee would have to always make the decision about any complaint about any member of that Committee about what that person would do and would not do the committee would have to deal with it. And I have no doubt that they would deal with that absolutely properly.

RH: What would you consider to be absolutely properly.

EF: That is for them not for me. They would deal with it absolutely properly. Where anyone has the slightest influence in any matter, whether they be friendly or know anybody or whatever, they always declare it and they withdraw if necessary. So, there isn’t an issue about that. They are scrupulous about it. I and I have no doubt they would be scrupulous about any complaint about any member [inaudible three or four words lost].

RH: Well I heard you on the radio saying that you weren’t happy about the fact that Mandelson did not make an apology to the house.

EF:. That’s not what I said.

RH: Well, that was my interpretation.

EF: Well, it might have been.

RH: Well, you were obviously cautious being a public servant, but, nonetheless…

EF: That’s not what I said.

RH: How would you interpret it?

EF: I would not interpret it at all, I certainly didn’t say that.

RH: Suppose for example an hypothesis;  suppose the Standards and Privileges committee allowed Mr Sheldon to sit as chairman whilst considering your report on him. Would you consider that to be a resigning matter?

EF: I have no comment to make on hypothetical situations.

RH: All right. Now, I will just ask you one or two questions about…

EF: But do let me be clear, if you have evidence of any member of Parliament not registering interests which they should have registered, would you kindly let me have it. I would be pleased to have it and I will investigate if that is the case.

RH: Now one thing – you appreciate that I haven’t got the details of exactly how you operate.

EF: I will gladly tell you.

RH: But suppose… this is purely technical what I am asking you now. There is nothing contentious at all. But, suppose for example someone set up a couple of companies, all right, and those companies shall we say have dealings with other companies of which the first person isn’t a director – he is a director of the first two companies but not the other companies. But shall we say his wife was a director of the other two companies. Would that count as a beneficial interest?

EF: It depends on whether she has a shareholding. If she has got a shareholding that’s more than 1% of that company, yes, but not otherwise. The rules are very interesting as you will have seen from [] There are some things which members are required to show a spouse – that’s the word that’s used – but most of the items they are required in fact to disclose either spouses or partners interests.

RH: I appreciate again that it is difficult thing to administer because it’s a question of how long is a piece of string – up to a point. OK. But  there wouldn’t be any question if a person was an actual director of a company and hadn’t registered it, that would be I presume be just a straight open and shut case?

EF: Well, if a person is remunerated director then they are required to register it.

RH: Right, but if they are not a remunerated director then they are not? I can see the possibilities of lots abuse there but still. Someone else gets paid, it’s as simple as that.

EF: That’s what the rules are about, about financial probity.

RH: What I’m saying to you is that… I think you used to have some dealings with the Revenue, you were head of their…

EF: I was their adjudicator.

RH: That means that …the easy way to get round that is if the MP is unremunerated then someone else gets the payment.

EF: Well, if there is evidence, of course if there’s evidence of jiggery pokery to get round the rules on a technicality, then that’s, I, of course I would look into it.

RH: Well, I mean, if for example say a relative was being paid and the MP wasn’t being paid and both of them are directors, would you consider that prima facie evidence of possible misdoing?

EF: Not necessarily, no. You would have to find out whether the person who was getting paid was doing the work which they might well might.

RH: Right. Then I presume you would be willing to put the usual Revenue test of whether in fact whether the remuneration was in fact commensurate with the work they were doing.

EF: Well, if there was a Revenue issue. I would put it to the Revenue to look into.

RH: I wasn’t meaning that there was tax avoidance or anything like that. What I am saying to you is that what the Revenue commonly does is…

EF: Don’t worry I do know about that.

RH OK. What I am saying to you…

EF: What I would do. I am not willing to talk about a hypothetical case for fear of being misinterpreted. But I don’t wish to…

RH: Well……

EF: No, be very careful. What I would do if you provide me with any evidence that the rules may have been broken – it must be what I [inaudible word] – then I will look into it and if the evidence appears to show that people are getting round the rules in some technical way of course that would be against the spirit of Code and I would look into that. But I don’t then make an assumption that any individual is necessarily doing anything wrong. I would only come to that conclusion on the facts.

RH: You see what I would worry about here is, I mean purely from your own point of view rather than mine, is that if an MP isn’t remunerated but someone close to them is  remunerated, it would seem to me that that’s a prima facie conflict of interest there, because  he may well argue that he is pure as the driven snow and all this sort of thing, but if somebody as close as his wife,  just to take one example,  is getting substantial remuneration from the same source, or maybe even not as a director, he doesn’t even have to be a director, I mean, it’s one of the oldest scams in the world to put your director’s wife…

EF: it is also perfectly possible that it can be a perfectly legitimate business arrangement if you have two people who happen to be married to one another and working for the same business, one of whom decides that they want to be remunerated for a job, someone else who may well be in a job may not wish to take pay for it. That is a perfectly proper arrangement. What one would have to look at in any individual case whether or not it was proper.

RH: I would agree in normal circumstances that you could have a perfectly proper arrangement, and I’m not suggesting that there is any financial irregularity or tax avoidance, this is not what I am suggesting. What I’m saying is that in the context of the MP being an MP is there not a conflict of interest there? I mean…

EF: Well there may be, if you produce evidence that there is I’ll have a look at it.

RH: No, sorry, I’m obviously not making myself clear.

EF: You are making yourself totally clear. I am absolutely clear about what you are saying.

RH: What I’m saying to you is that regardless of any other evidence isn’t the mere fact that an MP has his wife…

EF: No.

RH: Then effectively it’s a dead letter..

EF: No, it’s not a dead letter, of course it’s not. If there is a situation in which two people married to one another or partners are working for the same business, one is receiving remuneration and one is not, if there is any evidence that there is [inaudible] bring it to me I will look at it. If there isn’t any evidence then I won’t be able to look into it.

RH: Yes, well again without belabouring the code of conduct, I would have thought, actually, that where you have got that close link …if someone is actually working for that company it would be relevant].   I’m talking about the wife or whoever is the non-MP, is working for that company and being remunerated by that company. I would have thought, that you know, that was a conflict of interest or a possible conflict of interest which needed to be declared.  All right, you may say that it is not within the…

EF: There are many conflicts of interest which you can have that the rules that parliament has laid down do not require to be registered. There are – you will know from your Civil Service experience – as a civil servant one has to declare many possibilities of conflict of interests which aren’t required of MPs. What’s required of MPs is what’s in that Code of Conduct. Those rules are very much about who pays the MP. Not about other monies that a person may have coming into their family or that other members of that family may have. That’s not what they are about. Now, you may think that the rules are no good and therefore you should be putting that point.

“RH: Well, actually, I think they are admirable rules, but it is just unrealistic to expect politicians to be actually bound by them. It’s like Chesterton’s old saw…

EF: No, well, if you think MPs ought to declare what their partners or spouses [have], then you ought to be putting a case to he Standards and Privileges Committee or to Lord Neil. They are the people to make that to.

RH: Yes, well, I shall doubtless do that in time when I get round to it. It does seem to me that is so broadly drawn as I said when we started off, I can see the problem from your point of view you of trying to enforce it, but it would seem to me…

EF: it’s not my job to enforce it.

RH: OK, be guided by it or whichever way you want to put it. The thing is, if that comes within your remit or guidance or whatever you want to call it, nonetheless it is so broadly drawn, I mean, it would cover well, well I mean, an unending multitude of sins.

EF: Absolutely, and indeed this is why the House agreed it in those terms so that the Committee if it ever decided could look into a wide range of things. What I am saying to you is what I interpret to be the wishes of the House in terms of what I should look into myself. I can only tell you that as best I can.

RH: Yes, I mean if it’s not confidential, I mean, have you had apart from the stuff you sent me, have you had any other written sort of guidelines or anything like that?

EF: Written guidelines?

RH: Well, I’m sorry, I don’t know what goes on behind the scenes. I mean have you had … maybe you sought some guidance from the committee, or something like that and they have given you guidance on how to interpret the Code of Conduct for example?

EF: Well, there are the odd occasions that you will know well. One of the complaints I had early [on] was about Mr Mandelson. When I read the Code of Conduct- and I had other complaints about him as you know from other people – when I read the Code of Conduct I was of the view that loans, concessionary loans between members, were not exempted from the Register. Many Members of Parliament, including Mr Mandelson believed they were and that was his reason for not having registered that loan. I said I can find no exemption in the rules. But I said to the committee you need to tell whether my interpretation is correct because I have been told by a lot of people and Mr Mandelson himself that I am wrong, that the House meant to exclude the registration of concessionary loans between members. The Committee said – and I read it carefully – members of the Committee said, Mr Mandelson’s quite right. We all think we don’t have to put that in. So I said, well please read the rules very carefully and they read the rules very carefully register and they said, Commissioner you’re right, they are not acceptable and so that is why they then followed my view on this on the matter. So there are a lots of situations in which I make an interpretation of what the rules say and then I say to the committee but you need to tell me if I’ve got that right or wrong. We have had a recent case as you well know in the press in which my reading indicated that..what Mr Livingstone’s situation is now in relation to speeches he was now making did require him to deposit [details in the register], that his circumstances had changed from when he was he just doing [inaudible] speeches and that he did now need to do so. That was a judgement and so I said to the committee that’s my reading of the rules and that’s my reading of Mr Livingstone’s situation. You have to tell me whether you think my interpretation is correct. And they looked at it and they were surprised about it, but they said you were quite correct. And, so there are lots of occasions on which I have to do the best I can and make an interpretation and the committee may not always agree with it. But that’s my job. I don’t it the other way round, I don’t say would before I look into this complaint I would you like to tell me what your view is. I don’t do it that way.

RH: I’m only asking these questions because I want to try to formulate any future complaints I may put in [to you] in a way which will be most accommodating to how you are working. Now,   have you as a matter of interest….you have been in office for just over a year is it?

EF: That’s right.

RH: Have you actually been sort of conducting your self on the same lines as your predecessor or have you made any great changes?

EF: In what way?

RH: Sorry, I am just asking generally,. I hadn’t nothing particularly in mind. I mean, have you changed your tack would you say from your predecessors in terms of how you decide to…

EF: I leave that to other people to decide. Lots of people say that it is the same, but it is entirely up to the people who observe it [to decide].

RH: Right, well, now I would just like to ask you one or two other things …not taking up the complaints again…..Now, you’ve read my letters to Blair? I judge Mrs Filkin that you’re probably the sort of person if someone sends you something, assuming its not horrendously long, you probably read it. Would I be right?

EF: You should judge that I read things however horrendously long.

RH: Yes, right, I rather took it that this would be the case.

EF: I don’t think I can do this job properly unless I attending to what the public decides to send me..

RH: But there are limits just in terms of time.

EF: I’m very bogged down at the moment. I have a large number of complaints, but I’m not treating them any differently. I am treating them just as assiduously.

RH: But having read the Blair letters – just your own personal opinion, I’m not even asking you necessarily in your capacity as…

EF: I’m sorry, I am not going to comment.

RH: Well, all I was going to ask you was well did you find any gross racist abuse?

EF: I’m not going to comment. It is not for me. We are going to have to draw to a close.

RH: I know, I fully appreciate that, I fully appreciate that. To be honest with you I have really covered most of the ground I wanted to.

EF: Well, I am glad to meet you and I hope that you will provide me with evidence about any of the complaints that you are concerned about and if you do I shall look into them.

RH: Could I just ask you before I go. There is one complaint you are still waiting for investigation by I think its The Board of Trade which is Robinson, that’s right isn’t it? Is there any movement on that at all?

EF: I have heard nothing further.

RH: These things can drag on for yonks so its not that surprising. Well look Mrs Filkin I appreciate you seeing me and we will see if we can progress it in the future.

EF: I’m sorry you have had such – obviously an unsatisfactory…..

RH:  To be honest I do this for two reasons, one is protect myself quite frankly, because I think you will appreciate that anybody who has been the subject of the attentions of the Prime Minister in the way I have been the subject of the attention of the Prime Minister, might have some slight cause for concern shall we say, all right? But the second thing is  it’s just the fact that this is corrupt politics as well. I don’t just mean Blair, I am talking about Robinson and co. I am talking about Mandelson also. So don’t think I am progressing complaints which are non-Blair related simply because I’m trying to get at Blair, because that isn’t my purpose at all.

EF: No. I understand that. Some of the matters you have raised with me are not in relation to this [The Blair Scandal]

RH: Well exactly.

EF: Don’t forget your recorders.

RH: The most valuable thing in the bag. Right, ok, we are ending the meeting now at 11.55.

Piers Morgan, perjury, the police, the Leveson Inquiry and Denis MacShane

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

London WC1

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 https://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 https://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.

http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=16305&SESSION=702

Leveson Inquiry

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 (https://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:

https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/12/22/referral-of-piers-morgans-perjury-to-the-leveson-inquiry/

https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/leveson-inquiry-jeff-edwards-and-another-prima-facie-case-of-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.

Conclusions

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.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

———————————————————————————-

Daily Mirror 25 March 1997
‘PEST TARGETS BLAIRS’
Jeff Edwards Chief Crime Correspondent
Police called in over string of hate letters
Police are probing a string of race hate letters
to Tony and Cherie Blair.
The deluge of sinister messages sent to the couple
through the Labour Leader’s office at the House of
Commons began last year.
Insiders described them as “personal and
offensive”.
And they feared the letter writer could even
become a stalker.
The man behind the hate mail has been described
as 51-year-old Robert Henderson.
He sparked a huge row two years ago when he wrote
an article criticising black players in the England
Cricket Team for the Magazine Wisden’s [sic]
Cricket Monthly
GRAPHIC
The magazine was successfully sued for libel by
England fast bowler Devon Malcolm.
At first staff at Labour’s HQ in Walworth Road,
South East London, ignored the letters sent to the
Blairs.
But they decided to call in the police when the
TYPED messages became a rant against the couple and
started arriving at the rate of three or four a
week.
Insiders say the letters – with Henderson’s
signature and north London address – are full of
graphic racist filth implying Mr Blair would relax
immigration laws once he gets to No 10.
A Labour insider said last night: “The writer
said things like ‘why are you married to that
idiot? If he gets elected he’ll let in all the
blacks and Asians.’”
Detectives visited the Blairs at Labour HQ last
week.
They were shown dozens of letters which were
taken away for forensic tests.
The letters – posted in London – have also been
studied by the Crown Prosecution Service.
Police said sending such material could result in
an assault charge.
The insider added: “MPs often get threatening
mail which would go in the bin.
“But this is different. It has become a campaign,
a bombardment. The writer displays tendencies
associated with stalkers.
“This writer is unusually persistent. The tone of
the letters has become increasingly nasty.
“He uses sewer language. The letters are racially
insulting.
When the Mirror approached ex-public schoolboy
Henderson yesterday at his council flat, he refused
to discuss the letters.
Last night a Labour spokesman said: “Public
figures getting offensive material in the post are
advised to refer them to police.
“We now consider this man is not worth giving any
more publicity to.”
A Scotland Yard source said: “By sending letters
in a very unpleasant tone the writer has committed
an assault.”
Special Branch, who organise protection for MPs,
have been informed of the situation.
The article was accompanied by a large photograph of me, printed after I had specifically withheld my permission for its use, and was flagged on the front page with the charming headline “COPS PROBE BLAIR PEST – EXCLUSIVE: Fears over race hate mail.”
The Mirror story contained these objectively provable libels: (1) the false accusation of sending ‘Race hate’ letters to Tony and Cherie Blair, (2) the false accusation that I sent dozens of letters to the Blairs, (3) the false accusation of assault, (4) The false accusation of sending letters containing ‘graphic racist filth’, (5) the false accusation of sending letters containing ‘racial insult’, (6) the false accusation of sending letters containing ‘sewer language’, (7) the false accusation that I have ‘tendencies associated with stalkers’, (8) the completely fabricated quote ‘If he [Blair] gets elected, he’ll let in all the blacks and Asians’ and (9) the false statement that I refused to comment on the letters when approached by the Mirror.
——————————————————–
FROM THE EDITOR

By fax (0171-353 8355) & by post
16 October 1997
Your ref: 970738
Christopher Hayes Esq
Press Complaints Commission
I Salisbury Square
London
EC4Y 8AE
Dear Mr Hayes
Mr Robert Henderson
I refer to Mr Henderson’s complaint as outlined in his letter of 23 September.
As you are aware, we have been in contact with Mr Henderson for some time due to his propensity to bombard individuals and this office with correspondence. [RH: Translation: Mr Henderson sent more than one letter because the Mirror refused to reply].
There are certain irrefutable facts that escape emphasis in Mr Henderson’s correspondence.
Far from ignoring any of his correspondence we have written to him on the 20 May, 22 July and 6 August. [RH: The letter of 20 May merely said he was not going to enter into correspondence. The other two letters were from his legal department in response to Subject Access Requests I made under the data Protection Act. These were legally required]. We have consistently made it clear that we have no intention of entering into any further correspondence with him.
Be that as it may I will address his concerns:-
In essence, the basic “sting” of the article, of which he complains, was that he had been sending numerous insulting letters, some with racist undertones, to Mr and Mrs Blair which had been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service for consideration.
Mr Henderson himself admits that he sent Mr and Mrs Blair at least thirteen letters. I have no way of directly knowing of the content of those letters because I have not had sight of them. However, clearly they sufficiently concerned Mr Blair’s office to be passed to the Crown Prosecution Service [RH: The CPS said as soon as they saw the letters that they were entirely legal] and I think the Commission is perfectly entitled to draw an adverse inference on the contents of those letters as a result of that referral.
I cannot accept Mr Henderson’s explanation for writing {o Cherie Blair. To do so was clearly designed to intimidate. In Mr Henderson’s draft article “Moral Simpletons Target Innocent Man” the bile that he shows on the second page of that article clearly illustrates his capacity to insult in his letters to Mr and Mrs Blair[RH: an absurd deduction. What I wrote to the Mirror says nothing about what I wrote to the Blairs] (to the extent that they be referredto the Crown Prosecution Service). I would also refer the Commission to Mr Henderson’s gratuitous reference to a “Blaireich”.
He also admits to expressing his disgust (we can only guess in what terms) of the decision of Mr and Mrs Blair not to send their son to a school whereby a white schoolboy was, apparently, murdered by five other boys (and that that murder was racially motivated). [RH: This was the Richard Everitt murder].
The police source of our article (whose identity we have a moral obligation to protect) [RH: thus the police informant behaved illegally by supplying the information] gave us the detail of the letters that we then published. Nothing that Mr Henderson writes has convinced me that the article was anything other than accurate.
Perhaps one can get a flavour of his correspondence with Mr and Mrs Blair by examining the final sentence of his draft article in which he states “It was a cargo of ancient male gonads”.
The Commission may be aware (I am attempting to get hold of the article) that the article of Mr Henderson’s that appeared in Wisden’s Cricket Monthly in 1995 gave rise to an extraordinary amount of controversy and resulted in Wisden paying substantial libel damages to the Cricketer, Devon Malcolm,[RH: Malcolm refused to sue me after I made it clear I would take the case to the floor of a court] whom the Commission will be aware is a coloured fast bowler for England. As I understand the matter, and Mr Henderson will correct me if I am wrong, the article implied that coloured players will not try as hard when playing for England as white players. [RH: The article put it forward as a possibility, no more].
I have discussed the legal position with the newspaper’s solicitor, Martin Cruddace [RH: Cruddace is a proven liar. He made a declaration to my Subject Access Request under the Data protection Action to the effect that the Mirror held no qualifying documents. Eventually after I had done some detective work, he had to admit that the Mirror had a small matter of 118 pages of documents relating to me], and he has assured me that the law has recently developed whereby words (be they written or spoken) can constitute assault [RH: No person in the UK has been convicted of such a crime. The definition of GBH has been extended to non-physical abuse such as abusive phone calls but it requires a psychiatric illness to be proved to be caused by the alleged abusive behaviour. Mere emotions such as fear do not qualify. The failure of the police to consider such a course and the CPS’ immediate definition of the case as “NO CRIME” shows that my letters were entirely lawful] if the pattern of those words is such as to make the recipient of them either anxious or ill. It has developed as a reaction to the former impotence of the law on stalking.
The law has therefore developed since the publication of the dictionary reference on which Mr Henderson relies.
I cannot accept that the taking of the photographs of Mr Henderson, given the clear public interest concerning the subject matter of The Mirror article, could possibly constitute harassment under the Code. [RH: It was a clear breach both because I had advised them of my eye trouble and because they took photographs having come over my threshold.]
I am most concerned not to waste any further time in dealing with Mr Henderson’s complaint but, naturally, if the Commission wishes me to address any further matters then I will endeavour to do so.
However, I hope that the above is sufficient to convince the Commission that the basic “sting” of the article is accurate and that Mr Henderson’s complaint ought to be dismissed.
Yours sincerely
Piers Morgan

Courage is the best defence against charges of racism

Robert Henderson

The trial of Emma West on two racially aggravated public order charges which was scheduled for 11 June has been postponed until 16 July to enable further psychiatric reports to be prepared. (http://www.thisiscroydontoday.co.uk/Emma-West-race-rant-trial-moved-July/story-16346869-detail/story.html).

As Miss West was charged over six months ago and has been  brought before courts several times,  it does seem rather strange that psychiatric reports need to be prepared now, especially as it was made clear months ago that she was being treated for depression when the events took place and had taken a double dose of her normal medication on the day of the alleged offences, both of which were of obvious utility as defences or mitigation. If they were going to be used by the defence surely psychiatric reports would have been made long ago. Had Miss West suddenly decided to plead guilty that could explain it, but there is no evidence that she has changed her plea. Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that she  has stood firm on her intention to plead not guilty That would make her a decidedly rare bird amongst those who have found themselves arraigned in Britain on criminal charges merely for expressing non-pc views about mass immigration and its effects in general or for challenging the politically correct elite ideology in a particular instance where they have become embroiled in a dispute with someone who is black, Asian or a white person who claims ethnic minority status. Such a plea would also be a most unwelcome development for those who have brought her to trial.

The British liberal elite relies on fear to drive the enforcement of their totalitarian doctrine of political correctness, of which multiculturalism and “anti-racism” form the central part. The political elite – backed and aided by their auxiliaries in the mainstream media, public service, academia and the ethnic minorities themselves,  with big business tagging along provided the globalist and laissez faire tune is played by the politicians  – create and feed on that fear in various ways. They pass laws which make employers vulnerable to claims of racial and sexual discrimination; make the loss of a job, especially in publicly funded jobs, commonplace for those judged to have committed a politically incorrect “crime!” and criminalise dissent from those in the native British population who repudiate the idea of mass immigration as a good and lament the willful tainting of what was until the 1950s a remarkably homogenous population.

The political elite and their auxiliaries have been very successful to date in controlling dissent both through the creation of fear and the willing collusion of the mainstream media who happily accept the restrictions of Acts such as the Race Relations Act (9176), the 1986 Public Order Act and the Race Relations Amendment Act (2000) whilst proclaiming their belief in free expression. But the trick, like all acts of censorship and propaganda, only works while alternative views are excluded from the public fold.

What every liberal knows in his or her heart of hearts is that the creed they supposedly live by is no more than an aspiration and the reality of the time they live in is that human beings generally do not wish to live according to the dictates of political correctness and, most particularly, are naturally antagonistic to the idea that homo sapiens is just one big happy species without any meaningful innate or ineradicable cultural differentiation.  This means that any breach in the public censorship of politically incorrect ideas represents a potent danger for the British elite. They realize that if the truth is told about both the consequences of  mass immigration and the feelings of the native British towards it, the pack of ideological cards will tumble down, just as it did in the Soviet Union where the discontinuity between the political rhetoric of a communist paradise with equality, bumper harvests and every increasing industrial production contrasted fantastically with the miserable material lives of the Soviet masses and the brutal repression and ever more absurd Marxist-Leninist dogma.  In the case of the liberal regime in Britain, the equivalent absurdities are the liberal’s insistence that mass immigration had been a most wondrous boon bringing huge economic benefits and marvelous cultural enrichment while the large majority of the native population saw, often at first hand, the reality of the “cultural enrichment” as areas were effectively colonized, crime, especially violent crime, committed on an industrial scale by immigrants and their descendants, traditional British freedoms rapidly eroded in the name of multiculturalism and protest against the effects of immigration criminalized.

The elite fear of the public contradiction of the politically correct narrative on race and immigration  may have caused the postponement of Emma West’s trial to either prepare the ground to get her to change her plea to guilty or have her declared unfit to plead, the latter being the ideal result for the authorities because it would allow her to be represented as mad. This would fit beautifully with the liberal idea that only the mentally ill can hold non-pc views.

Until the last few years there have not been many prosecutions for inciting racial hatred or allied crimes. Instead, the British elite have relied on visits by the police to people who have had the temerity to put golliwogs on sale in their shop or make some mildly non-pc comment which has got into the media. It is very rare that charges have been brought, not least because the “crimes” they are supposedly investigating are often difficult to identify under existing laws. But an eagerly complicit British media has made sure that such action by the police is given great publicity.  This has laid the foundation for the general fear now present amongst the native British of voicing or even being associated with someone who voices a politically incorrect opinion, a fear symbolized by the almost inevitable “I’m not a racist” disclaimer when someone ventures to express mild concern about immigration or the behavior of a particular ethnic minority or even, because the “anti-racism” disease has become hideously virulent, a criticism of any person drawn from a pc protected group.

In the past few years more and more cases have ended up in court, two of the most recent being the jailing for 21 weeks of Jacqueline Woodhouse for behavior similar to that of Miss West and the Swansea U student Liam Stacey, who was jailed for 56 days after making comments deemed to be racist on Twitter (http://englandcalling.wordpress.com/2012/05/31/prison-for-merely-speakingnon-custodial-sentences-for-sustained-physical-attacks/). Both played the liberal game of Maoist-style confession which did them no good at all.

Sadly, very few native Britons in the past forty years have pleaded not guilty when charged with racially based offences. They have allowed themselves to be either intimidated into pleading guilty or on the rare occasions when a not guilty plea has been entered, gone along at their lawyers’ insistence with either a technical defence, for example, claims that they were wrongly charged or the evidence used was inadmissible , or a defence which does not say they had the democratic right to say or write whatever it was they said or wrote, but only challenges the charges on the grounds of what the words meant in the context of the law, for example, in the case of charges under section 5 of the 1986 Public Order Act were the words insulting, viz:

(1)A person is guilty of an offence if he— .

(a)uses towards another person threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or .

(b)distributes or displays to another person any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting, .

with intent to cause that person to believe that immediate unlawful violence will be used against him or another by any person, or to provoke the immediate use of unlawful violence by that person or another, or whereby that person is likely to believe that such violence will be used or it is likely that such violence will be provoked. (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1986/64).

The liberal elite fear anyone who pleads not guilty, even if it is on grounds, such as those just described, which do not challenge  directly the basis of the multicultural fantasy. This is because any contested trial brings into the public fold a dissenting voice and , consequently,  demonstrates  that the law is being used in a way which is incompatible with either a free society or a democracy, because it is inherent in the concepts of both a free society and a democracy that any opinion must be allowed to be argued or by definition the society is neither free nor a democracy.

If someone charged with politically correct “crimes” puts forward a defence that the laws under which they are charged are illegitimate because the laws are tyrannical and destructive of both freedom and democratic participation, the problem for the liberal elite is much amplified because it nakedly reveals their hypocrisy. Whilst happily using and tolerating the use of power appropriate only for a totalitarian state,  the official liberal line is that they are the most wonderfully moral and tolerant people in the world who find any form of discrimination or imposition of values obnoxious. Any person who wished to mount a forthright defence on the grounds of free expression and democratic participation would be  crying that the Emperor had no clothes.

The other very damaging possibility(for liberals) would be if a defendant argued that a failure to apply the law regarding racial incitement, threat, insult and so on equally rendered the law both morally null and legally incomprehensible, because it was literally impossible for any individual to judge what was and what was not illegal.  This would be very simple to do because there are many glaring examples of blacks engaging in racist abuse of whites not being judged to have committed racist crimes – two prime examples can be found in http://englandcalling.wordpress.com/2012/05/31/prison-for-merely-speakingnon-custodial-sentences-for-sustained-physical-attacks/.

To these instances of double standards  can be added the vast numbers of incitements to racial hatred against the native white population of Britain by politicians, the mainstream media, academics and ethnic minority spokesmen who insist that Britain is a racist society because its native white population is racist. These not only attract no attention from the police but no condemnation by politicians or the mainstream media. ( I referred Greg Dyke when Director-General of the BBC to Scotland Yard  after he referred to the BBC staff as “hideously white”, a clear incitement to hatred against whites and especially potent because of his public position. Scotland Yard refused to open an investigation).

This brings us back to the question of why Emma West has been referred for psychiatric reports. The authorities have already done their best to intimidate her. After Miss West’s arrest she was held on remand “for her own protection” according to the court in Bronzefield Prison, the nearest to a high security Category A prison in England, a prison which has housed amongst others the mass murderess Rosemary West. They did this despite the facts that  (1) she made no request for protection nor was any firm evidence of serious threats to her safety produced.and (2) she has a three year old son to look after. (http://englandcalling.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/emma-west-immigration-and-the-liberal-totalitarian-state-part-2/)

Despite these intimidating experiences and the danger that her son may be taken from her by social services, Miss West still appears to want to plead not guilty. If she is resolute in that, her best way of winning her case or, quite possibly ,having the case dropped before it comes to court , is to fight the charges on the  grounds that they are an affront to free expression and democracy.  Miss West should also add the double standards in applying the law to the embarrassment she can cause the liberal elite. If she relies on a defence or mitigation based on her history of depression or the medication she took, it is unlikely to save her from conviction or provide much by way of mitigation because she has pleaded not guilty. There would be every chance she would go to prison and/or lose custody of her son.

What I recommend to Miss West is good advice to anyone who is arrested for a “racial crime”.  Make it clear from the moment you are approached by the police that you will plead not guilty on the grounds that free expression is a necessity in a free society and to engage in the democratic process.  There is a fair chance they will not even caution you, let alone try to bring you to court because the last thing the British political elite want are large numbers of trials with the defendants pointing out that the liberal emperor has no clothes.

Easy to say, difficult to do  I can hear people saying.. That is true. Being brave in such circumstances is deeply difficult, even for those  in political parties which have some public profile and base their politics on politically incorrect ideas of race and immigration.  In 2005 the leader of the BNP Nick Griffin emailed me to ask whether I would appear as a witness in a court case in which he was appearing as a defendant to charges of .  I had never met, spoken to or exchanged emails or letters with the man before his email arrived, nor had any dealings with him after our 2005 exchange of emails.

Griffin contacted me because Tony and Cherie Blair, quite bizarrely, attempted to have me prosecuted, and failed dismally, under the Malicious Communications Act during the 1997 General Election. Those interested in the case can find a summary at https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/when-tony-and-cherie-blair-tried-to-have-me-jailed/. He wanted me to give evidence which showed political tampering with the justice system.  This I agreed to do because Griffin was “the subject of both a  political law and a political prosecution.” . I wrote a detailed note which both laid out what evidence I could bring and my advice about how he could best run his defence.  Griffin accepted this then did precisely what I had warned him against doing, namely, letting his lawyers run a defence which did not defend the principle of free expression. Griffin was found not guilty but that verdict left him with a problem he cannot shake off. By allowing the defence he did, he tacitly accepted the legitimacy of the laws under which he was charged. I include the relevant exchange of emails with Griffin at the end of this article.

If the leader of a political party with enough support to justify the odd media appearance cannot be brave, why should the ordinary person be brave?  If the arguments about the value of free expression do not convince, consider the fate of  those who have been brought before courts in recent times. Jacqueline Woodhouse and Liam Stacey pleaded guilty and made the most abject public apologies. It did not save them.  They were both sent to prison for merely speaking in a country where burglars commonly do not receive a prison sentence  until their third or fourth conviction and violent assaults by blacks on whites receive community service, for example, . http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2070562/Muslim-girl-gang-kicked-Rhea-Page-head-yelling-kill-white-slag-FREED.html#ixzz1flw8TY6p.

Nor will the effects of meekly pleading guilty be over after your court appearance is done and your sentence served.  You will probably lose your job and find it difficult to get another one.  If you are in higher education you will probably be excluded from the university, either temporarily or permanently.  Even if you do complete your course, your job prospects will be blighted because prospective employers will have somewhere in their minds a memory of your trial and the publicity surrounding it. Depending on your social circumstances, you may find yourself socially ostracized if you are middle class or be an object of fear to anyone because you will carry the label “racist” around with you and that will make you seem dangerous to most people regardless of their private views on race and immigration. In short, pleading guilty is never going to be an easy way out.   At worst, if you are going to pick up a criminal record and possibly a prison sentence, you can  keep your self-respect intact by fighting the case on the grounds of freedom of expression and the right to tell the truth about the most profound act of treason, the permitting of mass immigration.

——————————————————————-

My correspondence with Nick Griffin  

To:                      Philip@anywhere.demon.co.uk

Subject:              a crack at Blair?

From:                  BNP Chairman

Date:     19 June 2005 21:24:02

Dear Mr Henderson

It occurs to me that there’s just an outside chance that something you have on Blair and his cronies (and/or the BBC) might just be able to be worked in to my defence against Race Act prosecution in Leeds Crown Court later this year.

The problem, of course, is making a connection so that the judge would rule such material relevant and admissable, but if you have anything that you think could possibly fit the bill, and which you would like to see given a very public airing in full view of the national media, then please drop me an email at your convenience.

Yours sincerely

Nick Griffin

British National Party

————————————————————-

To:                      BNP Chairman

Subject:              Re: a crack at Blair?

From:                  Robert Henderson <philip@anywhere.demon.co.uk>

Date:     21 June 2005 13:45:35

OK. Just answer me one question for the moment. Do you want to frighten Blair and co into dropping the prosecution or do you positively want the case to go ahead so you can use it as a political platform? I

don’t care which it is but I would need to know before we go any further.

RH

———————————————–

To:                      Robert Henderson <philip@anywhere.demon.co.uk>

Subject:              Re: a crack at Blair?

From:                  BNP Chairman

Date:                   21 June 2005 15:58:02

Option a) would be marginally better because then we can always get a bite of cherry b) at a later date by going head-to-head with their proposed Islamophile ‘law’.

N

—————————————————————-

To:                      BNP Chairman

Subject:              Suggested action you should take

From:                  Robert Henderson <philip@anywhere.demon.co.uk>

Date:     04 July 2005 17:11:57

Dear Mr Griffin,

I have had a good think about your request. In principle I am willing to help you and those being prosecuted with you. I do this simply because you are the subject of both a political law and a political prosecution. However, I must insist on one thing: that you all are entirely honest with me.

You say you ideally wish to frighten Blair and co out of the prosecution. What I am going to suggest will both serve that purpose and also provide a good skeleton for your defence if you get to court.

Your tactics

I suggest the following:

1. Call the Attorney-General Lord Goldsmith

Calling Goldsmith would be legitimate simply because he is both a politician and the man who took the decision to prosecute. You should argue that there is no proper separation of powers and consequently no fair judicial process. The Human Rights Act provides for a fair judicial process. There should be grounds to challenge the prosecutions on those grounds alone, i.e., that the judicial process is unfair.

More particularly, you can argue that he should be called as witness on the grounds that the prosecution has been undertaken for political not judicial reasons and without any consideration of the public interest.

There is public evidence that Goldsmith does allow his politics to colour his legal judgement. He changed his mind over the advice he gave to Blair on the legality of theinvading Iraq. On 7th March 2003 Goldsmith was doubtful about the legality of the war without a second UN resolution – his opinion has now been published. By 17th March 2003 he was telling Blair there was no problem without a second resolution. Goldsmith has never explained satisfactorily why he changed his mind in the space of ten days.

You should also argue (1) that the law itself is incompatible with democracy and (2) that there is a great public interest in not prosecuting, because the people being prosecuted represent a political party which is both acting within the democratic rules and has significant electoral support. You should further argue that the Human Rights Act protects both freedom of speech and democratic political activity.

2. Call Blair as a witness. The justification for this would be the collusion by Blair and Goldsmith over the Iraq advice and Goldsmith’s change of opinion. If you get permission to call Goldsmith it would be difficult for the court to refuse the calling of Blair.

3. Challenge what is meant by racially inciting. Get them to define it. Introduce examples of racial incitement by ethnic minorities. The Koran is a particularly good source of embarrassing quotes – I send you a selection by separate email.

4. Accumulate examples of ethnic abuse of whites which has not been prosecuted. If you know of whites who have made complaints to the police of racial incitement by blacks or Asians against whites which the police have failed to investigate or the attorney-general failed to prosecute, introduce these into evidence to show that Goldsmith or his predecessors are not even handed. I send you examples of complaints I have made which have not been investigated let alone prosecuted.

Calling people as witnesses

If you call someone as a witness you cannot cross-examine them. This puts considerable restrictions on what can be asked and the manner of the questioning (although a decent barrister should be able to get most of what he wants out of a witness even under those circumstances). Where a witness is reluctant – and the likes of Blair and Goldsmith would do everything they can to avoid being called – you can make application to the court for them to be treated as a hostile witness. If granted, this allows them to be cross-examined in all but name. Even allowing for the political pressure on the court, I doubt if any judge would fail to rule that they were hostile witnesses.

Your legal representation

Those labeled as racists generally have a problem with legal representation, both in getting it at all and in the nature of the representation when it is found. Barristers in particular have a habit of distancing them from their clients with words along the line of “My client is a vile racist but that does not mean he is guilty”. Consequently, it is vital that you give written instructions to both your solicitor and counsel forbidding such behaviour and laying out clearly how you want your defence conducted.

Remember, you instruct your lawyers, not they you. Once they have accepted your instructions they are bound to obey them r resign from the case. However, the courts look very unfavourably on counsel resign in criminal cases, so once you have got your instructions accepted there is a good chance they will be followed.

Lawyers generally will kick up about a client who wishes his  instructions to be followed – they are often the most arrogant of people who take the view that the conduct of the  case has damn all to do with the client. But you must face them down on this.

Representing yourself

In extremis, i.e., no one will take your instructions,  represent yourself. I would normally be very loth to  suggest this because there is a great deal of truth in the legal maxim that a man who has himself for a client has a fool for a client, but as it is a political trial it could be your best course of action.

If you do take this course, you should prepare yourself by producing schedules of questions. These should be primary and supplementary questions in this fashion:

Primary Question: Lord Goldsmith, did you discuss the case  with any member of the Labour Party before making your  decision to prosecute?

Secondary questions.

If Goldsmith answers YES ask: Which member or members did  you discuss it with?

If Goldsmith answers NO ask: Did you discuss the case with  any member of the Labour Party after making your decision to  prosecute?

In short, your schedules must anticipate as far as is possible the responses a witness will make.

Questions to witnesses should be “closed” wherever possible,  i.e., the questions should permit only a yes or no answer.

There are some questions which must be asked which will not allow a yes or no, for example, in the demonstration  questions above there would obviously come a point where you  would be forced to ask a question along the lines of “What  did you say to X”. If Goldsmith admitted that he had spoken  with a Labour Party member before he decided to prosecute,  you would probably need to ask such a question, although if  you are cross examining you could keep suggesting scenarios  to the witness, e.g., “Did you say Y to X?”.

My involvement with the Blairs

I am assuming that you have familiarised yourself with the  detailed case from my website.

I can say as a matter of objective fact that Blair is at the  least very wary of me. There is first the amazing fact that  Blair and his wife were willing to get involved in a criminal  prosecution involving me during the six most important weeks  of Blair’s life – the 1997 election campaign. The killer fact  for them is that they did not go to the police when I sent  them the letters but only after I circulated to the media the  letters and the replies I had received from their offices.

Second, is the remarkably experience I have had with the  police since 1997. I made various formal complaints against  the Blairs and the Mirror in 1997 and several since  due to  various attempts in internet  newsgroups  to incite  violence against me.  against me.

Normally such complaints would be dealt with by a detective  sergeant. To date I have dealt with a Det Chief Supt (head  of the Met’s Dept of Professional Standards, a very powerful copper indeed), a Scotland Yard Det Supt and two Det Chief  Inspectors. All came to my home when I requested it. That such senior officers have been assigned to my complaints  shows that the police and Blair are colluding when it comes  to dealing with me.

Consequently, if the authorities think you will be putting  me in the witness box, they will probably chicken out.

The best public document relating to me to wave at them is  the EDM put down by Sir Richard Body, viz:

On 10 November 1999, Sir Richard Body MP, put down this  Early Day Motion in the House of Commons:

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.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson 4 7 2005

——————————————————————

To:                      Robert Henderson <philip@anywhere.demon.co.uk>

Subject:              Re: Suggested action you should take

From:                  BNP Chairman

Date:                   05 July 2005 13:31:35

Of course. Thanks – though I usually tell lawyers that I think Will Shakespeare had the best idea about how to deal with them, and generally they take it well as they know deep down that they’re parasites.

N

Leveson Inquiry – My Subject Access request: the Inquiry withhold data

My Subject Access request to Leveson has resulted in virtually no material being released and an admission that they are withholding information on the grounds of legal privilege. I am challenging this with the Information Commissioner – details below. The course of my  request  can be found at https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/leveson-inquiry-data-protection-act-request-for-information/.

In addition to my submission to the Information Commissioner,  I include in this post (1) the substantive reply to my Subject Access request and (2) the only information released other than copies of my correspondence with the Inquiry.

Robert Henderson

Mr Christopher Graham

Information Commissioner

Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK95AF

25 5 2012

————————————————————————————————-

Dear Mr Graham,

                                                                                                       The Leveson Inquiry          

I made a subject access request to the Leveson Inquiry on 29 2 2012.  The Inquiry has refused to release all the information they hold on me citing legal privilege – see email dated 23/4/2012 sent under the aegis of The Leveson Inquiry Team. 

As you will see from my unanswered emails of 30th April and 13th May, I have asked the Inquiry legal team to spell out exactly what legal privilege arises,  bearing in mind that I am not a lawyer, a client, a witness, a defendant or a party to a civil law suit. The fact that the Inquiry has failed to answer such a simple question after a month suggests strongly that no legal privilege exists in this instance.

The information the Inquiry has released is slight, merely my own submissions, there responses to me and one email which was sent to them, unbeknown to me,  by a third party Roger Dewhurst.  I will not supply you every email or letter the Inquiry and I have exchanged because it is a voluminous correspondence and I do not think it would add anything to my complaint. Should you feel it necessary, I shall of course be happy to supply all the documents. For the present I enclose copies of my subject access request, my subsequent correspondence with the Inquiry relating to the subject access request and the information the Inquiry initially released, which is the Dewhurst’s email and a list of my correspondence with the Inquiry. 

There are extremely strong reasons to suspect that the Inquiry holds information on me which is being withheld simply because it would be at best very embarrassing for them to release and at worst something far more damaging, for example, a conspiracy to protect the powerful and influential. I have supplied the Inquiry  with  a great deal of important material including a letter from Piers Morgan to the PCC when he was editor of the Mirror in which he admits to receiving information from the police about me in circumstances which can only be illegal. (I enclose a  facsimile copy of the letter). From it you will also see that the story in the Mirror of which I complained to the PCC concerned the failed attempt by Tony and Cherie Blair to have me prosecuted during the General Election campaign of 1997. The final document I send you is a copy of my original submission to appear as a witness before the Inquiry. This provides you with a brief summary of the  dangerous (for them) territory I have asked the Inquiry to tread  upon.

Leveson has refused to use any of my evidence including the letter from Piers Morgan to the PCC or to investigate the prima facie perjury Morgan committed regarding the illicit receipt of information of information from the police whilst under oath before the tribunal.

I ask you to rule on whether Leveson can claim legal privilege and if they cannot make such a claim, to instruct them to release the withheld material. If you find that legal privilege does  apply, please let me have your detailed reasons for judging that it does apply.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

————————————————————————————————-

The Inquiry’s  substantive reply to my Subject Access  request

The Leveson Inquiry

culture, practices and ethics of the press

R Henderson Esq

3 April 2012

Dear Mr Henderson,

Subject Access Request

Thank you for your email of 29 February 2O12, in which you made a Subject Access Request (SAR) asking for all information on you held by the Leveson inquiry. Your request has been handled under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA).

We have now completed a search of our records and can confirm that the inquiry Team does hold personal data within the scope of your request. That personal data is being processed for the purposes of the requests and enquiries you had made of the Leveson inquiry.

The attached schedule shows the personal data that you are entitled to under section 7 of the DPA; as you are a recipient or the originator of each of these emails or communications, I do not propose to send you a further copy. However, if you would like to see any particular documents then I will arrange for copies to be sent to you.

You can find out more about the right of access to personal data under section 7, by reading the extract from the Act attached at the end of this letter.

You can also find more information by reading the full text of the Act, (available at http://www.lesislation.gov.uk/ukpsa/1998/29lsection/7) and further guidance http://www.ico.gov.uk/for organisations/data protection/subject access requests.

You have the right to appeal our decision if you think it is incorrect. Details of how to appeal are annexed to this letter.

Request for Further information

You have also requested certain other information from the Inquiry. As you are aware, the Inquiry is not covered by the Freedom of Information Act, but Lord Justice Leveson has indicated that the Inquiry will be conducted in an open and transparent manner. With that in mind I can answer your questions as follows:

1. The number of people who have submitted evidence to the Inquiry: we do not have an absolute number of submissions that we have received, as the inquiry is still inviting and accepting submissions to the Inquiry and so the number is constantly changing. I can tell you, however, that the Inquiry has heard oral evidence from 258 witnesses, and has published their witness statements on the inquiry website. The evidence of a number of other people has also been read into the inquiry and, again, their submissions have all been published on our website. Finally, we publish monthly updates of the number of emails, submissions and other enquiries that have come in; you will find this information in the “About the Inquiry” section of the website.

2. The number of people who have been or will be called to give oral evidence: by close of play on Wednesday 4th April, the Inquiry will have taken oral evidence from 258 witnesses. It is not possible for us, at this point, to know how many witnesses will be asked to give evidence during the remainder of the inquiry.

3. The number of people who have supplied the Inquiry with a letter from a Fleet Street editor in which the editor admits to receiving information from the police in circumstances which can only be illegal: the inquiry does not specifically record information in this way. It is, of course, open to you to review the statements that have been published on our website.

4. The number of people who supplied the inquiry with evidence of the police failing to investigate complaints of police officers supplying information illegally to the press: the inquiry does not specifically record information in this way.

5.The number of people who have supplied the inquiry with evidence of the PCC failing to adjudicate on complaints: again, the inquiry does not specifically record information in this way.

Amanda Jeffrey

(PP by N Mossally)

From:

Josephine Norris [Josephine.Norris@39essex.com]

Sent: 29 February 2012 20:37

To:

Leveson inquiry Solicitors Team

Subject: Fw: Smelling like a dead mullet.

Follow Up Flag: Follow up

Flag Status: Yellow

Fyi

—-Original Message -.

From: Roger Dewhurst

To: Robert Jay; Josephine Norris; wirwin@tgchambers.com <wirwin@tgcha m bers.com>;

DavidBarr@tgchambers.com <DavidBarr@tgchambers.com>;

clerks@tgchambers.com <clerks@tgchambers.com>;

clerks@landmarkchambers’co.uk <clerks@landmarkchambers.co.uk>; tfisher@landmarkchambers.co.uk <tfisher@landmarkchambers.co.uk>; clerksd@4-5.co.uk <clerksd@4-5.co.uk>;

hemmerson@4-5.co.uk

<hemmerson @4-5.co.uk>

Sent: Wed Feb 29 20:30:30 2Ot2

Subject: Smelling like a dead mullet.

This is looking more and more like a whitewash to which you are a party.

Roger Dewhurst

Robert Jay QC

Lead Counsel to the Leveson inquiry

Leveson inquiry

Royal Courts of Justice

Strand

London WCL

29 2 2012

Dear Mr Jay,

When questioning press witnesses about payments to the police for information you and your fellow counsel are consistently asking the wrong initial question.

The question you and your colleagues are putting is along these very bald lines: “Did you pay policemen for information?” what you should asking as your initial question is something like this “Did you or your staff ever receive information from the police.” which only you or your paper received?”

If they have that is almost certainly a breach of the law. You can then move to a line of questioning which further  illustrates the illicit nature of the receipt of the information to which the person has admitted receiving or knowing has been received. The question about payment should come later.

The reason you should proceed in this manner is simple. By limiting the question to payment you allow the  witness to escape questioning about other offences. Whether or not payment or other material reward is  given to the police for information , the passing of information illicitly by the police to the press necessarily breaches the Official Secrets Act and most probably the Data Protection Act. In those instances both giver and receiver commit corresponding offences. Conspiracy charges could also arise.  In addition,  the police officer would be guilty of misconduct in a public office.

I find it difficult to believe that a barrister of your experience will not realise all that. So why are you and your colleagues not pressing the matter of the receipt of information illicitly regardless of whether money or payment in kind has occurred?

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

Is there a deliberate attempt to sabotage the trial of Rebekah Brooks and co?

Robert Henderson

At first glance it beggars belief  that Alison Levitt QC,  the principal legal advisor to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) ,  took the decision to prosecute the one time chief executive of News International and erstwhile editor of the News of the World (NoW) Rebekah Brooks  and others associated with her  beggars belief.  Levitt was the subject of  tabloid stories, including coverage by the NoW , relating to her affair with a high profile  peer , Lord Carlile, the Liberal Democrat who is in charge of reviewing  Britain’s anti-terror laws. (Levitt and Carlile are now married).   The affair was very messy and its exposure in sensationalist fashion must have been a very unpleasant experience for  Levitt, something  which  cannot have disposed her to view the tabloids with equanimity (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-431884/Anti-terror-peer-dumps-boring-wife-glamorous-barrister.html#ixzz1vL8lAqTi ).

Unsurprisingly,  Levitt denies that she was in any way influenced by her treatment and maintains that she was not even  aware that the NoW  had run any stories about her affair when she made her decision to prosecute, a claim which may raise a few eyebrows because it was given considerable tabloid exposure and  a  common behaviour of  people caught in a media storm is to obsessively read everything printed about them.  It is also worth bearing in mind that those abused by the media tend to blame the media generally rather than just a particular newspaper or broadcaster (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2146209/Rebekah-Brooks-preposterous-claim-tabloid-expose-prosecutors-affair-peer-undermine-charges-her.html#ixzz1vL9BWHCg).   But whatever the truth of her feelings towards the NoW – and she could have been biased without recognising she was being biased – she should have stood down. Natural justice requires that those making decisions  within the justice system should not only be disinterested but be seen to be disinterested. Unsurprisingly, Brooks is now  considering whether to launch a judicial review on  the decision to prosecute on the grounds of potential bias on the part of Levitt.  (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/phone-hacking/9273276/Phone-hacking-Rebekah-Brooks-could-challenge-charging-decision-because-prosecutor-was-victim-of-tabloid-sting.html).

It is noteworthy that Starmer’s predecessor as DPP,  Ken Macdonald,  had no hesitation is standing down from a another politically  sensitive case  simply because of his association with people could be taken as evidence of partiality.  MacDonald was the  co-founder of  Matrix Chambers which he established with Cherie Blair whilst Tony Blair was Prime Minister. Because of this relationship,  he excused himself from involvement in deciding what should be done in the “cash for honours” investigations (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/4812822.stm), although the Mail reported that “The DPP excluded himself from the decision on whether to prosecute to avoid claims of a potential conflict of interests but has been regularly briefed by Miss Dowd on the investigation.” (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-469857/The-woman-called-halt-cash-honours-case.html).

Whether the case came to her in the normal course of her duties or whether she was  allocated it  by her boss, the present DPP Keir Starmer,  Levitt  should have refused to take it on the ground that she could not be seen as disinterested.   Starmer, who cannot  have been ignorant of Levitt’s history with the tabloids because of the high-profile nature of the story and the fact that  it involved a senior member of the legal profession , Lord Carlile – the legal world is a very small one. Consequently,  he   should have given the case to someone else  if he was responsible for allocating it or,  if Levitt  received the case in the normal course of her duties,  he should taken the case from her when he became aware that she was or would be  handling it.    However, it is wildly improbable that such a high-profile case as that against Rebekah Brooks  would  not have involved the DPP  as soon as it was submitted  to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), at least in the sense that he would have taken an interest in who was dealing with it and  how the CPS assessment was proceeding.  The idea that it would simply have come to the CPS and been allocated to a junior CPS lawyer until working its way up to Levitt   seems most  unlikely.  It is also improbable  that Levitt as the principal legal adviser to the DPP would not have discussed the case with Starmer . Whatever happened, the bottom line is that the DPP is ultimately responsible for any decision to prosecute and has the final say in whether a prosecution will occur.

The fact that Starmer did not do remove Levitt from the case  argues  for one of three things: an alarming naivety on his part; a stupidly  arrogant belief that the CPS could get away with ignoring the dictates of natural justice  because they are part of the UK power elite or the   deliberate choice of someone (Levitt)  who would not seem disinterested to make the decision in order to contaminate the prosecution.

There are not enough facts in the public fold to be certain of why Levitt’s very obvious disqualification for taking the case was not acted upon by Starmer, but I can paint a plausible scenario to explain why  he did not act.   Brooks  (and her fellow accused her husband Charlie) is not merely someone who has connections with leading politicians through her employment with News International.  She  certainly had a more than a  business relationship with David Cameron and met Tony Blair when he was Prime Minister frequently enough to suggest that there was a social element to their relationship). There has also been considerable interaction  between   leading  Labour and Tory politicians   and News International  and the Murdochs as a family, for example, Tony Blair is  godfather to one of Rupert Murdoch’s children by his present wife (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-14785501)

To any feelings of personal friendship or obligation felt by Labour and Tory politicians must be added the  likelihood of News International having a good deal of dirt on the politicians which even if it did not point to criminal activity could be hideously embarrassing for the likes of  still active politicians such  Cameron and retired ones like Blair, who if they have no formal power still have influence.   The politicians the Murdochs have seduced are in a Mexican stand-off with News International.

Then there is the position of the DPP.  There is no proper separation of powers between the executive and the justice system in the UK. Three members of the government – the Secretary of State for Justice/Lord Chancellor, the Attorney-General and the Solicitor-General –  have oversight of the justice system.  The DPP is appointed by the Attorney-General and is ultimately responsible to him.   As already mentioned, Starmer’s predecessor Ken Macdonald was appointed to the position by the Blair government despite having very intimate connections with the Blairs. It stretches credulity to believe that  any DPP is actually untouched by political considerations and sympathies or does  not make decisions which are influenced, one way or another,  by those considerations and sympathies. .

Given the choice the Government and the Opposition, at least at the level of the front benches,  would  fervently wish that no court cases involving the likes of Brooks were taking place. The problem is that having set up the Leveson Inquiry and pressed the police to investigate,   the Government  cannot crudely fix matters by ensuring that either the police investigations come to nothing or the CPS says that  a conviction is improbable  or that prosecution would not be in the public interest. That would cause to big a stink.  Instead they  need police to go through the motions of a serious investigation and for the CPS to be seen to acting impartially,  whilst at the same time taking action to ensure that no one of importance is actually found guilty or even better manufacture a reason to drop the prosecution .

There are various ways a prosecution can be fixed to fail. A favourite is “over charging”. This means  bringing charges which are too serious for the evidence to support. A classic example is the Jeremy Thorpe case in the 1970s when the leader of the Liberals  was charged with and acquitted of a charge of  conspiracy to murder  Norman Scott who claimed to have had a homosexual relationship with Thorpe.  What Thorpe should have been charged with was conspiracy to commit a lesser form of assault such as GBH.   Other favourite  ways of ensuring a verdict of innocent are losing evidence or simply conducting a case incompetently, for example, by making a Horlicks of cross examinations.

What may have happened in the case of Rebekah Brooks et al is this: the CPS decision to prosecute has been deliberately tainted by the employment of Levitt.  The tainting opens up a number of possibilities to get rid of prosecution altogether.  Brooks  might obtain a judicial review which finds that the decision to prosecute is tainted  and  the prosecution cannot proceed unless the case is reviewed by someone else at the  CPS. Alternatively, the mere threat of such action may persuade Starmer that he cannot let the original decision stand.  In either case that raises a problem. If Levitt’s decision is set aside, who in the CPS could examine the case anew and be considered truly impartial? Not  Starmer and that would raise a further problem because anyone else a new review of the case would have it in mind that the head of the CPS had agreed with Levitt’s decision to prosecute. Human nature being what it is, subordinates are normally reluctant to go against what the boss has agreed.

All of that would give Rebekah’s Brooks’ lawyers ample  opportunity to claim that no prosecution should go ahead because no impartial judgement of the merits of the case could take place.   If Levitt did not seek legal advice  from outside the CPS this argument would be strengthened.    Her lawyers could also argue that because of the publicity generated by and around   Levitt’s prima facie partiality,  it would   be impossible for Brooks and her fellow accused to get a fair trial.  Faced with all that there is a fair chance the prosecution would be dropped for one reason or another.  If that happened it would provide the best outcome for politicians and News International because the politicians could claim that a proper investigation had occurred and that a prosecution failed to take place simply because of the unfortunate behaviour of the CPS and there would be no embarrassing convictions of News International one-time employees.

It will be interesting to see whether this case ever gets to court. If it does,  watch out for  the quality of the evidence, evidence going missing, which witnesses are and are not called  and the performance of the prosecutor, especially in cross-examination.

Leveson Inquiry – Lord Leveson prepares the way for the cancellation of part 2

Robert Henderson

Leveson hints at an early end to the Inquiry

On 2  May the London paper the Evening Standard let a rather large cat out of the bag. It reported that Lord Leveson,  in a ruling made very quietly on 1 May,  had  hinted strongly that he wanted to cut short his eponymous Inquiry.  (http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/uk/leveson-phone-hacking-inquiry-could-be-cut-short-7706894.html).  The  relevant passage on the Leveson Inquiry website is this:

Para 65  “The public concern which led to the setting up of this Inquiry is beyond argument or debate. I do not know whether there will be prosecutions but, having regard to the number of arrests and the quantity of material seized (including the 300 m. e-mails which it is said have had to be analysed), if there are, it is likely that the process of pre-trial disclosure and trial will be lengthy so that Part 2 of this Inquiry will be delayed for very many months if not longer. In those circumstances, it seems to me that it is in everyone’s interests that Part 1 goes as far as it possibly can. If the transparent way in which the Inquiry has been conducted, the Report and the response by government and the press (along with a new acceptable regulatory regime) addresses the public concern, at the conclusion of any trial or trials, consideration can be given by everyone to the value to be gained from a further inquiry into Part 2. That inquiry will involve yet more enormous cost (both to the public purse and the participants); it will trawl over material then more years out of date and is likely to take longer than the present Inquiry which has not over focussed on individual conduct. Obviously, the more restrictive in its analysis that Part 1 has been, the greater will be the legitimate public demand for Part 2. I repeat that this possibility has not affected my approach to what I perceive to be appropriate in law and, when necessary, in the exercise of my discretion but it is undeniably a sensible strategic consideration for those who have participated in this Inquiry.” (http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Application-of-Rule-13-of-the-Inquiry-Rules-2006.pdf)

Leveson’s sudden found concern for the public purse is more than a little strange because it has been apparent from early in the Inquiry that it was going to be a lengthy and expensive process .  Nor is there any plausible  ground  for his concern about cost. To justify his new found desire to be a guardian of the public purse Leveson cited the Inquiries Act 2005, viz:

s. 17(3) :

Para 8 “In making any decision as to the procedure or conduct of an inquiry, the chairman must act with fairness and with regard to the need to avoid any unnecessary cost (whether to public funds or to witnesses or others).” (http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Application-of-Rule-13-of-the-Inquiry-Rules-2006.pdf)

The cost of carrying the Inquiry through may be considerable (although it would be minute in the context of overall public spending),  but it would be fanciful  to describe the uncovering of serious criminal offences involving corruption or other misconduct such as a wilful failure to investigate complaints of crimes as an “unnecessary cost”.  So why has Leveson flown this kite? It looks as though he has either  been told by his political masters to cut  the Inquiry  short because he is losing control of the official narrative, namely, the scandal is about News Corp and there is  nothing else of consequence, or  has decided to do so without being told because he understands he cannot control the Inquiry in the way he knows the Government would wish.

What would be lost if the Inquiry is shortened? 

If  Part 2 is  either dropped or seriously curtailed it would not only prevent further public questioning under oath of those suspected of having information about the various criminal behaviours,  but would also mean that evidence already submitted about such criminality would never see the light of official day, viz:

‘Lord Justice Leveson’s finding has disappointed Ian Hurst, a former British Army intelligence officer, whose computer was allegedly hacked by the News of the World. In March, Lord Justice Leveson rejected evidence provided by the former spy which claimed to have uncovered “intelligence of police corruption, including that at the very highest level”.

He told Mr Hurst the subject matter would be suited to Part Two as it would entail “lengthy and time-consuming analysis of the very considerable detail”.

However, the evidence will never be publicly-disclosed if, as expected, the inquiry wraps up early in July.”’ (http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/uk/leveson-phone-hacking-inquiry-could-be-cut-short-7706894.html).

What has prompted Leveson to act now?

Why has  Leveson acted in this manner now? The most likely explanation is that Inquiry has been creeping ever closer to seriously damaging evidence which could lead to senior politicians,  leading Tory politicians up to and including  Cameron himself.   In addition,  just by its terms of reference  Part 2 of the Inquiry has the potential to be much more damaging than Part 1. Here is its remit:

“3. To inquire into the extent of unlawful or improper conduct within News International, other newspaper organisations and, as appropriate, other organisations within the media, and by those responsible for holding personal data.

4. To inquire into the way in which any relevant police force investigated allegations or evidence of unlawful conduct by persons within or connected with News International, the review by the Metropolitan Police of their initial investigation, and the conduct of the prosecuting authorities.

5. To inquire into the extent to which the police received corrupt payments or other inducements, or were otherwise complicit in such misconduct or in suppressing its proper investigation, and how this was allowed to happen.

6. To inquire into the extent of corporate governance and management failures at News International and other newspaper organisations, and the role, if any, of politicians, public servants and others in relation to any failure to investigate wrongdoing at News International

7. In the light of these inquiries, to consider the implications for the relationships between newspaper organisations and the police, prosecuting authorities, and relevant regulatory bodies – and to recommend what actions, if any, should be taken.”  (http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/about/terms-of-reference/).

Apart from the potential danger to politicians and  police officers contained in the remit,  the concentration on News  International stands out.   They might be the obvious target in the case of phone hacking because of the evidence which came out before the Inquiry began, but there is no reason to believe they would be any more likely than any other press publisher engaged in similar journalism to have bribed police, politicians or public servants  or corrupted them in other ways. It is clear that the narrative  the Inquiry is meant to portray the  News International and Murdochs are the font of all serious press evil  with no other press group being put in a position of serious difficulty.  

Politicians and Judges

A senior judge is above political direction or collusion you say?  Sadly no. To begin with there is no proper separation of powers in Britain between the executive and the judiciary. British politicians have their hands on the justice system in a very intimate way. Three members of the government act as law officers – the Secretary of State for Justice now (combined with the office of  Lord Chancellor) who sits in the cabinet;  the Attorney-General (who on occasion attends cabinet meetings) and  the Solicitor-General have considerable influence on the operation of the  justice system in England and Wales, including  in the case of the Lord Chancellor,  the oversight of judges’  behaviour and roles in the appointment of judges and the dismissal of all but the most senior judges, despite   these powers being reduced substantially by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 (http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons/lib/research/briefings/snpc-03792.pdf).

To these very direct hands on the justice tiller is added the fact that Parliament – both Lords and Commons – is heavily littered with lawyers, most  of them barristers with a good sprinkling of  QCs.    This is important because the  legal world from which judges are drawn is a very small one. The vast majority of judges were barristers before their elevation  (the most senior judges are all barristers) and they are in practice drawn from a pool of just a few thousand .  There are around  15,000 barristers working in the UK, but  only a thousand or two at any one time would possess  the experience  to have even a theoretical chance of being appointed  to the bench at any level (http://www.chambersstudent.co.uk/Articles/197) .  The  upshot  is that judges, and especially senior judges, will almost certainly know  socially many of the barristers in Parliament and will quite probably have  had a social relationship with one or more of the Government’s law officers.   The re is a fair chance they will have  also  have socialised  with politicians who are not lawyers.  Moreover, a senior judge  will almost certainly  have  a sense of unconscious class solidarity with Government ministers because judges and politicians often  share a broadly similar social background.  This social familiarity provides any government  with ample  opportunity to  appoint someone who is judged to be  well enough  known to members of the Government  for them to be sure in their own minds that  someone appointed to an official Inquiry will  not do anything to rock the establishment boat .

There is also the normal human response to the powerful in play.  Powerful men do not have to spell out what they want done. Often  circumstances can be relied on to suggest what behaviour is required of those subordinate to him. Where the circumstantial prod is deemed insufficient by the powerful, they will let their views be known either by stating them publicly or through intermediaries.

All these forces acting on a  judge appointed to a public inquiry will almost invariably ensure that whatever evidence comes out the conclusions drawn by the Inquiry it will be favourable to the Government’s position –  provided the government which commissioned it is still in power  when the Inquiry  report  is published. The Hutton Inquiry into Dr David Kelly’s death  is a prime example of how an Inquiry can come to conclusions which are utterly at odds with the available evidence.   The Inquiry  unearthed much which  suggested an unnatural death,  but produced a report which concluded exactly what the Blair Government wanted it to conclude, namely, that Kelly had committed suicide.

Why has Leveson failed to do what Cameron expected him to do?

If Leveson was committed to controlling the Inquiry to protect politicians (and possibly senior police officers) why has he failed to be successful to the extent that the Inquiry itself is in danger of  being closed down early?  The answer is simple: the Inquiry became impossible to control because  Cameron  and  those  politically close to him were too closely wound into the News International story.  Because of that the remit of Part 2  of the Inquiry holds  considerable dangers for senior Tory politicians. Suppose, for example, Ian Hurst’s evidence showed senior police officers engaged in not only run-of-the-mill corruption but also political interference in police investigations of  News International.

Leveson and his lawyers have certainly done their level best  to ensure that they have created no  really serious trouble for national politicians,  press owners  and their senior employees, not even for News International and the Murdochs.    The questioning has been  so feeble  and generally incompetent that it is difficult to believe that it has not been so on purpose – see (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/leveson-inquiry-the-killer-question-robert-jay-qc-is-not-asking/). There has been sleaze unearthed and embarrassment  generated for politicians and journalists,  but to date nothing which might lead to criminal charges has emerged during the Inquiry. (Mediafolk have been arrested during the Inquiry’s existence  but not as a consequence  evidence unearthed by the Inquiry).  To this general ineptitude can be added the  blatant concentration on News International and the Murdochs to the virtual exclusion of the rest of the British national press.

To what is publicly obvious I can add my own experience of  just how determined Leveson is to not go  beyond News International  when it comes to revealing serious press abuse.   I supplied  the Inquiry with  evidence of  serious misbehaviour by  politicians, the press and the Metropolitan Police. (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/11/25/the-leveson-inquiry-the-blairs-the-mirror-the-police-and-me/). All of  this  falls objectively within the remit of the Inquiry.

The misbehaviour included at hate campaign against me by the media generally in 1995;  a severe libelling of me  by the Mirror in 1997 in a story linking me with the Blairs to which I was given no chance to answer (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/when-tony-and-cherie-blair-tried-to-have-me-jailed/);    plentiful evidence of the wilful refusal of the PCC to investigate cast-iron and most serious complaints and collusion between the press and politicians to suppress stories (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/leveson-inquiry-politicians-and-the-press/).

Amongst the evidence  I sent to the  Inquiry was a letter sent  by Piers Morgan to the PCC when he was Mirror editor (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/12/20/piers-morgan-lied-to-the-leveson-inquiry/).  In the letter he admitted receiving information (about me) from a police officer in circumstances which can only have been illegal, viz: “The police source of our article (whose identity we have a moral obligation to protect…”.

Leveson both  failed to question Morgan about the letter when he gave  evidence  and refused  to investigate the matter when I pressed the Inquiry to do so after the failure to put the letter to Morgan (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2012/02/17/leveson-inquiry-wanted-people-who-have-had-their-evidence-ignored/).

Despite the general strength of the evidence I supplied,  Leveson refused  not only my application to be a Core Participant, but has also failed to  use me as a witness or utilise in any way  the evidence I have supplied .

Leveson’s   utter determination not to let the Inquiry stray from the narrow  narrative concentrating on  News International  to the exclusion of other parts of the press  is shown by his cavalier  behaviour when I applied to be a Core Participant  – this would have allowed me not only to give evidence but, amongst other things,  become involved in what questions were asked of witnesses under oath.

I was asked to provide details reasons why I should be a Core Participant (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2012/01/27/leveson-inquiry-robert-hendersons-application-for-core-participant-status/).    At the Directions Hearing  which dealt with my application Leveson announced that he had not read my submission and would not be doing so, but, rather, he  would make his decision based on what I could say in  five minutes. I did this and my application was  turned down in the most peremptory fashion at the end of the Directions Hearing.  I never received any  written reasons for the refusal. (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2012/01/11/leveson-inquiry-the-response-to-robert-hendersons-application-to-be-a-core-participant-2/)

Why did Cameron set up the Inquiry?

Bearing in mind the close relationship Cameron and other  Tory politicians had with News International it might be thought more than  a little strange that Cameron set up the Inquiry.  He could have  quite legitimately refused an inquiry on the grounds that there was a massive and ever growing police investigation into the relationship between the police, politicians and the press and a public inquiry would jeopardise this.

As with every other government instituted inquiry, Cameron probably  imagined he could control the outcome by choosing a judge who could replied on not to come to any disagreeable (for the government or any member of it) conclusions and  by designing the remit of the Inquiry to steer it away  from anything which might embarrass (or worse) himself ,  his ministers or his party.  But even if Cameron thought he could control the Inquiry this could be post facto wishful thing because there  is good circumstantial evidence that he was panicked into setting up the Inquiry.

On  5 July 2011 the police released details of those whose phones may have been hacked, including  9/11 victims and relatives and the murdered teenager Millie Dowler  after she had been reported missing and before her body was found.  (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/mediatechnologyandtelecoms/8619373/News-of-the-World-bereaved-relatives-of-77-victims-had-phones-hacked.html).   The general public had not been tremendously exercised by the phone-hacking up to that point, seeing it  as a parade of celebrities  whose lives were normally on public view.  Come the revelation that the practice had extended to “ordinary people” – and in particular to the Millie Dowler case – public outrage was created.

This alone might not have  panicked Cameron into setting up an Inquiry, but his  reckless employment of a one-time News of the World editor Andy Coulson as his  director of communications brought the question of press misbehaviour and phone-hacking in particular uncomfortably close . Coulson  was arrested in connection with phone-hacking  in July  2011. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11195407).  He was not  charged (and has  not been charged)  in relation to any  phone-hacking,  but his arrest  was enough to persuade Cameron to set up the  Inquiry.  Coulson was arrested on 8 July (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2012540/ANDY-COULSON-ARRESTED-Camerons-ex-aide-quizzed-phone-hacking.html ) and the Inquiry announced on  13 July http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/).

As the extract  from the Inquiry’s remit quoted above shows,  the Inquiry was clearly intended to be directed at  News International and nothing else.  This was a colossal   blunder from Cameron’s point of view. He did not take properly into account the extent to which he and other senior Tories had been compromising themselves by their closeness to Murdoch and other senior News International and News Corps figures. This may have been to some extent through ignorance of what his fellow  Tory politicians had been up to on Cameron’s part, but his own  very close relations with News International should have been enough to set the alarm bells ringing in his head.

The problem for  Cameron is that he , along with the rest of the Tory hierarchy, were and are in a Mexican stand-off  with News Corp generally  and the Murdochs in particular. The latter have presided over newspapers which have  engaged in highly  immoral and,  in some instances ,  serious criminal behaviour.  Against this News  Corp and the Murdochs in particular will have a good deal of information about Cameron and other leading Tories which at best could be very embarrassing and at worse point to criminal collusion.

That Cameron (and those close to him) could not see the dangers suggests either a disconcerting  obtuseness on his part  or a monumental arrogance which persuaded him that , regardless of any  unpalatable facts  which might come out, the Inquiry could be controlled by the Government.  He may have been misled by the experience of the Hutton Inquiry, but if so he was remarkably naïve.   There is a great deal of difference between his and his government’s position and that of  Blair at the time of David Kelly’s death.  Cameron does not have a healthy Commons majority;   he is hamstrung by being in coalition which makes him look weak and hypocritical; the economic times are radically worse now and the country is already weary and increasingly contemptuous  of him after two short years.

Even if Part 2 of the Inquiry does not take place it will not get solve  Cameron problems.  Part 1 still has the capacity to bring a good deal of damaging material into the public fold, not only from the Inquiry but generally as the Inquiry and the response to what it uncovers prompts other information to be given public prominence  .  Yesterday (9 May) an updated biography  of Cameron  revealed that he had sent one time NoW editor and News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks a supportive text two days before she resigned from News International (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9253633/David-Cameron-sent-supportive-text-to-Rebekah-Brooks-biography-reveals.html).  This morning (10 May)  stories  appeared showing that Andy Coulson  attended meetings which required high security vetting which Coulson did not possess. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/leveson-inquiry/9256111/Government-admits-Andy-Coulson-attended-high-level-security-briefings.html)  and the failure of Cameron to declare  two meetings with Rebekah Brooks days after Andy Coulson quit his No 10 post (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/phone-hacking/9255030/David-Cameron-failed-to-declare-meeting-with-Rebekah-Brooks-two-days-after-Andy-Coulson-quit.html)

The cancelling of Part 2 would of itself create a scandal in the public mind because the natural conclusion for any disinterested party to draw would be that it has been done simply to protect Cameron and other senior Tories.  That would increase the  already considerable contempt in which politicians are generally held and the dislike and  anger at the performance of the Coalition. However, that would not mean either a change of Prime Minister or an early election.

The only things going for Cameron  are the fact that the LibDems are largely silenced on the matter by their  position in the Coalition and their dire position in the polls; Labour’s own considerable involvement with News International  makes attack by them on the Tories on the subject of Murdoch  very difficult and the general reluctance of by  Labour and LibDems to go into another election soon because of the poor state of their party finances.  Because of these considerations it is likely that if  nothing  utterly damning about the relationship between News International,  the police and  Cameron and other senior Tories comes out the Coalition will stagger on for a year or two even if the Inquiry is cut off at the knees.

Leveson Inquiry – Politicians and the Press

Miss Kim Brudenell

Solicitor to the Inquiry

Leveson Inquiry

Royal Courts of Justice

Strand, London WC1

2 May 2012

Cc All barristers employed by the Inquiry

Dear  Ms Brudenell,

Politicians and the Press

I enclose three  examples of  collusion between politicians and the press.    All cases demonstrate the willingness of the British mainstream media to act in concert to suppress  stories of great public interest as a result of either direct  political interference or  a shared interest between politicians and the media in suppressing a story.

Case 1 Tony  and Cherie Blair

During the General Election campaign of 1997 Tony and Cherie Blair attempted without success to have me prosecuted for offences under the Malicious Communications Act and for common assault after I sent letters to them (the attempted charge of assault by writing was and is a crime unknown to English law).

The Blairs made the complaint to Belgravia Police who  immediately  referred the matter to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). The CPS refused the complaint on the same day they received it,  ruling that my letters constituted NO CRIME.

The fact that the CPS made such a  rapid and unambiguous decision tells its own story:  they had the tremendous pressure  on them of having the man who was almost certainly about to become the prime minister making the complaint yet threw it out within a matter of hours.  There was a  very simple reason for that:  my letters  contained no obscenity, crude abuse or threats.

Ironically, I wrote to the Blairs  asking for their help after I had been the subject of a media storm in 1995 after Wisden Cricket Monthly published an article of mine “Is it in the blood?”  I contacted them after I was refused any opportunity to reply by the media and the PCC refused to adjudicate on my complaints.  I asked Blair  what he would do to stop such abuse if he formed a government and sought the assistance of his wife in her role as a prominent human rights lawyer.

Tellingly, the Blairs did not go to the police when I sent the letters but only after I had circulated copies of my letters and the non- replies I received from the Blairs’ respective offices  at the beginning of the General Election campaign.

The Blairs were advised by the police that if they wanted to take the matter further all they could do was start a civil action against me. They  failed to do so despite the fact that the evidential test in a civil case is much lower than it is in a criminal case.  That failure, together with the facts that (1) the Blairs did not go to the police when I sent the letters  and  (2) they  are both lawyers  with ready access  to legal advice from their friends and colleagues make it  reasonable to assume that they realised no crime had been committed and pressed the case simply as a device to silence me during the election campaign.

After the Blairs failed to have me made the subject of a criminal investigation the Daily Mirror and its sister paper in Scotland  the Daily Record  published stories  on 25 March 1997 revealing that the Blairs had been to the police to try to have me prosecuted.  The Inquiry already have copies of  both stories, including facsimiles of the original pages,  but I attach copies for your convenience (Daily Mirror and Daily Herald  stories.docx https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/the-failure-to-charge-piers-morgan-with-illicitly-receiving-information-from-the-police/  ).

The Mirror story in particular was dramatic, involving a large front page flier for the story and almost a full page for a photograph of me  (taken without my permission while I inside my flat) and story  which was both highly sensational and very libellous,  with  false claims such as “Police are probing a string of race hate  letters  to Tony and Cherie Blair” (there were no such letters and the police never began an investigation),  “The  letters,  which are said to  contain  racist   filth”  (ditto) and absurd (and false) claims that I bombarded the Blairs with letters.

What happened next will be of  interest to the Inquiry as it conducts module 3 dealing with the relationship between the press and politicians.  Despite the sensational nature of the Mirrors’  coverage  and the facts that it was (1)  published during a General Election campaign and   (2) it concerned the leader of the Party  who would in all probability be prime minister within six weeks, not a single  mainstream newspaper (or broadcaster)  took up the story of their own volition.   Nor could I get any newspaper (or broadcaster)  to  take it up, either immediately after the publication of the Mirror story or afterwards.

That the Mirror and Herald were the only papers to publish the story is easily explained: they were absolutely committed to Blair and the Labour Party’s election in May 1997. It would not be too much to say that the Mirror was at that point effectively the Labour Party’s house journal.

As for the failure of the rest of the media to take up the story, that demonstrates  the general  collusion of the UK media and politicians.  There is a constantly flow of personnel between politics and the media, not merely  politicians going to the media but also all the hangers on such as personal advisors.   In addition to that personal vested interest, there is a general vested interest with politicians begging for favourable media coverage and mediafolk desperate not to be  frozen out from government briefings, official or otherwise.

Case 2 Gordon Brown and the Francis Crick Institute

A very large research laboratory, The Francis Crick Institute,  is being built on land behind the British Library in Kings Cross, London –  http://ukcmri.wordpress.com/2010/12/16/objection-to-ukcmri-planning-application-for-a-research-centre-in-brill-place-london-nw1/.

The land on which it being built was publicly owned. It was sold by ostensibly  public tender  by the Department of  Culture, Median and Sport (DCMS) in 2007 to  a consortium the United Kingdom Centre for Medical Research and Innovation (UKCRMI).

Just as the decision on the Murdoch bid to buy all the shares in BSkyB that News  Corps did not own was supposed to be decided impartially by a minister (Jeremy Hunt),  so was the sale of the land by the  Secretary of State for the DCMS . The reality was that there was no impartiality exercised. As is clear from the documents below which I obtained using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Gordon Brown persistently interfered with the sale by putting his weight behind one of a number of bidders. This invalidated the bidding process.

I made great efforts to get the story into the mainstream media and politics  – see http://ukcmri.wordpress.com/. These were unsuccessful which says a great deal about both our politicians and political  journalists. Nonetheless, it does stand as evidence of the persistent willingness of politicians to misuse their power  and of the British media to suppress political stories when it suits them.

There is another strong public interest in this story because the Francis Crick Institute will by dealing with highly toxic viruses and bacteria in its research. This makes it a serious and potentially catastrophic danger to London, both from lapses in bio-security and terrorist action.  The full story can be found at http://ukcmri.wordpress.com/.

The emails and letters showing Gordon Brown’s interference in the bidding process are contained in the attached file UKCRMIGordon Brown.docx (http://ukcmri.wordpress.com/2011/02/21/gordon-browns-involvement-in-the-sale-of-the-land-to-ukcrmi/)

Case 3 The attempted suicide of Tony Blair’s daughter

In May 2004 Kathryn Blair attempted to commit (reports on the web by non-mainstream media  suggest she was taken to hospital on Thursday 13th May 2004, for example, http://www.public-interest.co.uk/aseye/index.htm# ). Every single national  newspaper and broadcaster (including the BBC) refused to use the story.  The BBC’s failure is especially reprehensible because  a public service broadcaster has a special obligation to put anything of political importance  before the public.

How do we know the story is true?  Well, Martin Bright when political editor of the New Statesman confirmed the story verbally to me at a meeting of the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom and Tom Leonard when he was with the Daily Telegraph sent this email when I raised the matter with him:

“ In message <011401c5913d$53a14e40$171b1…@tgl.telegraph.co.uk>, Tom Leonard <tom.leon…@telegraph.co.uk> writes

Dear Mr Henderson, thanks for your email. The problem with the story about the Blairs’ daughter is that the BBC was far from alone in ignoring it. I think the whole of Fleet Street ignored it too on the grounds of sensitivity and intrusion into privacy (she is a minor of course).

However, you are completely right about the BBC’s vested interest and well done for pointing it out to Mr Grade. The BBC is too used to never being properly grilled by >the public.

Regards, Tom Leonard”

Then there is the behaviour of  the BBC.  I twice confronted  Michael Grade when he was  BBC chairman with the failure of the BBC to run the story.

The first occasion was at the Viewers and Listeners Spring Conference in April 2005. Grade claimed not to know the story, but refused to discuss the matter. Later I wrote to him asking him to justify his failure to make the story public. Grade did not reply but I received a letter from the BBC’s Head of communications Tina Stowell which ran “The question you raised at the VLV Seminar on 25 April relating to the Prime Minister’s daughter is not one which the BBC Chairman will respond to in public or via correspondence.”

The second occasion was at the Governors “AGM” at Television Centre on 19 July 2005. After the programme, The Governors rashly mingled with the audience. I managed to corner Grade for about five minutes and ask him in front of plenty of witnesses why he had censored the story of the Blair daughter’s attempted suicide, especially after I had raised the matter with him in April 2005 at the Voice of the Viewer and Listeners Spring Conference. He tried to make a joke of it, but before he escaped I asked him the following question: Do you believe the story is true? He refused to answer. ’nuff said.

At the same meeting I lobbied four other Governors: Deborah Bull, Merfyn Jones, Fabian Monds, Ranjit Sondhi and Angela Sarkis. Without exception they all seemed painfully startled by the news. I got a promise from each to look into the matter if I sent them the full details. I wrote to them and the other Governors on 20 July 2005. None have replied. Instead, I again received a letter from Tina Stowell (22 July 2005). This ran “Thank you for your letter to the Board of Governors. The BBC’s position remains the same as in my previous letter.” I then submitted a formal complaint through the governors’ website of 28 July 2005. This elicited no reply.

I raised the failure of the  BBC to act on BBC phone-in programmes and was always cut off immediately I had raised the subject.   I wrote to Feedback, the programme which supposedly deals with listeners concerns with the BBC, asking them to investigate the censorship. They failed to do so.

In addition to this evidence, there were  also references in the mainstream media  in 2004 of a family matter which could persuade Blair to resign.  It is reasonable to conclude that the ‘family matter’ was Kathryn Blair’s attempted suicide.  Interestingly, Cherie Blair said this in an interview in 2009:

“  Mrs Blair has also told Italian paper La Repubblica that Nicky and Kathryn were taunted at school over their father’s decision to send troops into Iraq in 2003 to stop Saddam developing weapons of mass destruction.

‘They had some really difficult moments at school. Everybody called their father a liar,’ she said.” http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1211450/The-young-OBlairs–Former-Prime-Ministers-children-Irish-passports-thanks-grandmother.html

There is the strongest public interest in the media running stories such as Kathryn Blair’s suicide.  Politicians are by definition professional moralists because they tell  everyone how to live through the laws they pass and the moral judgements they publicly make. For that reason alone, in a democracy the electorate need to know how their private lives match up to that which they ordain for others.

But there are other good reasons. Blackmail is one and the effect on a politician’s mind and behaviour of traumatic events another. Clearly, this event was such as to potentially seriously  destabilise Blair’s mental balance. As he was PM  the public had a right to know what he was undergoing.

To argue that a child must be given anonymity at all costs is nonsensical. It would, for example, prevent the release of names and details for a child who has gone missing.

Nor is there any reluctance on the part of the media to constantly name children who have done something wrong which stops short of an appearance in a criminal court. In addition, in some criminal cases, the ban on identifying children is lifted and the media again is only too happy to identify them, often in ways which may incite attacks on the child or parents.

It is also true that children generally have to bear the humiliation and shock of seeing their parents and other adult relatives named in the media when they have committed a crime or behaved immorally. That is at least as traumatic as the child being named.

Tellingly, the media have no difficulty with reporting failed teenage generally can be seen from the vivid example of Rebecca Ling, the survivor of a suicide pact viz:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/south_west/3651008.stm

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/tragedy-of-the-suicidepact-teenage-girls-who-met-in-internet-chatroom-551402.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-316749/Suicide-pact-girl-bullied.html#ixzz11P5vVRDz

Both at the time of the suicide pact and during the inquest into the girl who died the BBC and every other mainstream media outlet reported the story with her name, in depth and sensationally. What is sauce for the Man on the Clapham omnibus gander should be sauce for the PM goose. It should not be for the media to decide what they will and will not put before the public when there is a matter of great public interest at issue. Clearly, the Blair child’s case was  suppressed because of political pressure and/or bias on the part of the media.   (It is worth adding that the children of the elite gain great privileges simply by virtue of their accident of birth. The downside is that they may be under greater scrutiny than the ordinary child in the street.)

Why was the story so completely suppressed? I would suggest this. In modern Britain it is next to impossible to force a Prime Minister out of office for political reasons. Where a Government has a massive majority it is impossible. The only thing which could bring Blair down was personal scandal. No media outlet was willing to risk being  the one which broke the silence and being shut out from the political inside stories.  There is also the fact that Murdoch was supporting Blair  and much of the rest of the media wanted Labour to remain in power.   That is probably why the story of his daughter’s attempted suicide was  so ruthlessly censored.

Conclusion

I am, as ever, willing to appear as a witness at the Inquiry and to offer any other help to the Inquiry.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

Leveson Inquiry – Jeff Edwards and another prima facie case of perjury

Miss Kim Brudenell

Solicitor to the Inquiry

Leveson Inquiry

Royal Courts of Justice

Strand, London WC1

25 March 2012

Dear Miss Brudenell,

The evidence given by Jeff Edwards before the Inquiry on 17 March 2012 provides another prima facie instance of perjury.

Mr Edwards was the reporter who wrote the hideously libellous story about me in the Mirror on 25 3 1997.  The Inquiry already has a photostat of this story and the front page flier in the Mirror advertising it, but I reproduce the story below for your immediate reference.

This is the story which eventually prompted Piers Morgan’s  letter to the PCC (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/12/20/piers-morgan-lied-to-the-leveson-inquiry/), the letter in which he admits the Mirror received the information on which Edwards’ story was based from the police in circumstances which can only have been illegal because (1) Morgan writes “The police source of our article (whose identity we have a moral obligation to protect)” – there would be no need to protect a source if the transaction were legal – and (2) the nature of the material released to the Mirror and the circumstances in which it was released.  By the time the story was passed to the Mirror the CPS had already ruled that no crime had been committed – they made the ruling within a few hours of receiving the papers from the police. Hence, there  could by definition have been no legitimate reason for the police to release any information about me, whether that was to a single newspaper or the entire media.   The Inquiry has a copy of the letter but I attach it in facsimile for your immediate reference.

Morgan claims in the letter  to the PCC that he had never seen the my letters to the Blairs: viz” I have no way of directly knowing of the content of those letters because I have not had sight of them.”  Therefore,  Edwards was almost certainly  the recipient of the information which was illegally handed over by the police. The only possible alternative would have been for another  Mirror employee to have been given the information who then passed it to Edwards. However, this is wildly improbable because Edwards would have had to write,  without having seen any  evidence – we may conclude from the fact that Morgan never saw the letters  that Edwards did not have copies of them –  a story which if untrue was, by definition, dangerously libellous. Regardless of these considerations, Edwards would have been the most likely recipient of the information because of his long standing and exceptionally close relationship with the Metropolitan Police as revealed in his evidence to the Inquiry.

The illegal passing of  information to the Mirror means that the police officer and the Mirror recipient of the information committed  criminal offences under the Official Secrets and Data Protection Acts.  In addition, the police officer would have  been guilty of Misconduct in a Public Office. Even if by some miracle there was a third party between Edwards  and the police source, Edwards  would still  have committed  crimes under the Official Secrets  and Data Protection Acts by receiving the information because he would have known their source and consequently would have known the information was illegally received by him.

In his written and oral evidence to the Inquiry  Edwards  paints himself as whiter than white,  viz:

Q37 I have no experience of anyone wanting other than an understanding professional relationship, that often becomes genuine  friendship.” ( http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Witness-Statement-of-Jeff-Edwards.pdf)

And

 “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.” (ibid)

(Note that Edwards does not say he never received information which it was illegal for the police to give or even offer. This strikes me as a deliberate attempt to avoid the question of whether he received information illegally. Incredibly, Robert Jay did not follow up this point in his questioning.)

And

The paper [NoW] had recently appointed a new editor, Nicholas Lloyd, and I think my boss was coming under pressure to get results.

I explained to him the job was difficult and his response was something to the effect that “we have

plenty of money available, let your contacts in the police know that we will reward them for good

information.”

I do not remember what I said in return but I remember being worried about both my job and what

my boss was suggesting as I had never paid police officers before, and was worried about the legal

and ethical issues involved.

No more was said for about three or four weeks, but I did not offer bribes or rewards to any police

contacts and clearly my performance was still not good enough because the News Editor confronted

me again.

He was angry and again said words to the effect that I should be paying police officers to induce

them to pass on information.

I do remember that I became upset and said to him that I disapproved strongly of such methods and

said something on the lines that I thought we were about exposing hypocrisy and corruption and yet

here we were with him instructing me to bribe police officers.

I think this was probably the final nail in my coffin because I remember him becoming angry and

saying words to the effect that “If you will not do my bidding I will find someone who will.”

The following week I was telephoned at home by my boss who told me the editor had decided to

remove me from the role of Crime Correspondent. I was not being sacked from the paper, but I was

to return to the main news room as a general reporter.

I learned that a colleague was being appointed to my job. I do not know if this reporter bribed or

rewarded police officers with money or any other inducements.” (http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Second-Witness-Statement-of-Jeff-Edwards.pdf)

And

“Apart from the period Circa 1981 to 1985 when I was a staff reporter at the News of the World, I have no knowledge and no evidence of payments made to police personnel by journalists.”

“I can state that throughout my time at the Daily Mirror I was not encouraged in any way to offer rewards or bribes to police and have never indulged in that practice, which I think is wrong.

“I can also state that I never heard of any instance of another journalist at the Daily Mirror being involved in any business where money or other rewards were offered or given to police officers. (ibid)

20      ….there have been times in my life where I have —

21       I mean, I — because I was a senior staff reporter at

22       the Mirror, I was expected to mentor to some extent some

23       other reporters on occasions, or reporters would

24       frequently come to me for advice.  You know, younger

25       members of staff.  And on occasions I had to draw to

                                            33

1       their attention the dangers of going down perhaps

 2       certain roads of where they could be compromised or even

 3       be in danger of more serious consequences in

 4       a particular relationship

                                           34

(http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Transcript-of-Afternoon-Hearing-14-March-2012.txt)

And

            17 I was probably with a police team on ten to a dozen

            18       different occasions near Heathrow, and I had made a

            19       point, incidentally, of saying to them, “I do not want

            20       to know the details of this job until it is completed”;

            21       in other words I was very conscious of the fact I did

            22       not want at any point to be — if anything went wrong,

            23       anybody to say, “You were the leak on this”, or “The

            24       problem was caused by you”.  All I said, in the most

            25       general terms, “I don’t need to know the who, the what,

                                            19

             1       the why.  If things unfold in front of me, that will be

             2       fine, but I don’t want to know in advance exactly what’s

             3       going on.”

                                             20 

(http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Transcript-of-Afternoon-Hearing-14-March-2012.txt)

The putative perjury

How can this portrait of Edwards  as  a veritable saint amongst sinners  be squared with the fact that he was willing to accept information about me from the police when the CPS had ruled that I had committed no crime and in  circumstances where the receiving of the information can only have been illegal?

In particular, how can  Edwards write in his first witness statement “Q37 I have no experience of anyone wanting other than an understanding professional relationship, that often becomes genuine  friendship” when at least in the instance involving me his relationship with the police was illegal?

There is also no reason to take at face value Edwards claim that “Apart from the period Circa 1981 to 1985 when I was a staff reporter at the News of the World, I have no knowledge and no evidence of payments made to police personnel by journalists.”  The passing of information about me to the Mirror  could not possibly have been to settle a grudge by the police against me and it would be most unlikely that a police officer would be willing to risk his or her career by passing on such inflammatory  information without reward, the two reasons other than payment Edwards gave in his evidence.

There is also the circumstantial evidence of the failure of the Scotland Yard to interview  Edwards, Morgan or anyone else at the Mirror when they eventually were forced to go through the motions of investigating  Morgan’s admission of receiving information from the police (I have already supplied the Inquiry with the details of this).   That looks very like deliberate collusion between the Met and the Mirror to ensure the story never made it into the public fold.

In view of the Blairs’ involvement, the very senior police officers who dealt with my complaints – these included the head of the Met’s internal investigations unit – and the fact that the newspaper involved was the Mirror – at that time the house journal of New Labour –  and Edwards’  close relationships with the Met generally and  senior Met Officers in particular,  it is reasonable to suspect  that police officer who provided the Mirror with the information was of senior rank.

I ask you to (1) investigate the question of Edwards’ perjury; (2) recall Edwards for questioning about the police source who supplied him with the information about me; (3)  recall Piers Morgan for questioning about his involvement with the story; (4) call the police officers involved with supposedly investigating  Morgan’s admission  receiving information from the police to explain why they did not interview anyone at the Mirror  and (5) call me to give evidence on my dealings with the Mirror and the police.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

——————————————————–

    

The Daily Mirror and Daily Herald stories with Robert Henderson’s commentary on them

The Mirror  article was accompanied by a large photograph of  me, printed  after I had specifically withheld my permission  for its use,  and was flagged on the front page with the charming  headline “COPS PROBE BLAIR PEST – EXCLUSIVE:  Fears over race hate mail.”

The  Mirror story contained  these  objectively  provable libels:  (1)  the  false accusation of  sending  ‘Race  hate’ letters  to Tony and Cherie Blair,  (2) the false  accusation that I sent  dozens of letters to the Blairs,  (3) the  false  accusation of assault,  (4) The false accusation  of  sending letters  containing  ‘graphic racist filth’,  (5)  the  false accusation of sending letters containing ‘racial insult’, (6)      the  false  accusation of sending letters  containing  ‘sewer  language’,  (7) the false accusation that I have  ‘tendencies associated  with  stalkers’,  (8) the  completely  fabricated quote  ‘If  he [Blair] gets elected,  he’ll let  in  all  the blacks and Asians’ and (9) the false statement that I refused to comment on the letters when approached by the Mirror.

 Daily Mirror 25 March 1997
 ‘PEST TARGETS BLAIRS’
                  Jeff Edwards Chief Crime Correspondent                                     
                  Police called in over string of hate letters

Police are probing a string of race hate  letters  to Tony and Cherie Blair.

The deluge of sinister messages sent to the  couple through the Labour Leader’s office at the House  of  Commons began last year.
Insiders   described   them  as   “personal   and   offensive”.
And  they  feared the letter  writer  could  even  become a stalker.
The  man behind the hate mail has been  described   as 51-year-old Robert Henderson.
He sparked a huge row two years ago when he wrote    an article criticising black players in the England   Cricket  Team  for  the  Magazine  Wisden’s   [sic]   Cricket Monthly

                              GRAPHIC

The  magazine was successfully sued for libel  by  England fast bowler Devon Malcolm.

At  first  staff at Labour’s HQ in  Walworth  Road,    South East London,  ignored the letters sent to the    Blairs.

But  they decided to call in the police when  the  TYPED messages became a rant against the couple and   started  arriving  at the rate of three or  four  a  week.
Insiders  say  the  letters  –  with Henderson’s   signature  and north London address – are  full  of   graphic racist filth implying Mr Blair would  relax  immigration laws once he gets to No 10.
A  Labour  insider said last night:  “The  writer    said  things  like  ‘why are you  married  to  that  idiot?  If  he gets elected he’ll let  in  all  the  blacks and Asians.’”
Detectives  visited the Blairs at Labour HQ  last  week.

They  were  shown dozens of  letters  which  were   taken away for forensic tests.

The letters – posted in London –  have also  been   studied by the Crown Prosecution Service.
Police said sending such material could result in  an assault charge.

  The  insider added:  “MPs often  get  threatening   mail which would go in the bin.

“But this is different. It has become a campaign, a  bombardment.   The  writer  displays  tendencies  associated with stalkers.
This writer is unusually persistent. The tone of   the letters has become increasingly nasty.  “He uses sewer language. The letters are racially insulting.

 When  the Mirror approached  ex-public  schoolboy  Henderson yesterday at his council flat, he refused to discuss the letters.

Last  night  a  Labour  spokesman  said:  “Public    figures getting offensive material in the post  are advised to refer them to police.
   “We now consider this man is not worth giving any   more publicity to.”
A Scotland Yard source said: “By sending letters  in a very unpleasant tone the writer has  committed   an assault.”

 Special Branch,  who organise protection for MPs,  have been informed of the situation.

The Daily  Herald’s report   published on the  same day as  the   Mirror story:
This story contained these objective provable libels:  (1) that  I sent “hate letters”  to Cherie Blair,  (2)  that  the letters were “sick”,  (3) that I bombarded Cherie Blair  with letters, 4) that I sent letters to Cherie Blair in  1996, (5)  that the letters contained “racist filth”,     (6)  that the police were shown 100 letters,  (7) that the letters were   “deeply offensive” and (8) that Cherie Blair declined to have  me   prosecuted  (That  decision  was  made  by   the   Crown       Prosecution Service who declared that “NO CRIME” had been committed).

   CHERIE BLAIR RECEIVES HATE LETTERS

             Sicko letters sent to Cherie

Tony Blair’s Wife Cherie has been bombarded  with    hate mail.

Police were called in after Mrs Blair feared  the   writer showed classic signs of being a stalker.
The  letters,  which are said to  contain  racist   filth  and  are described  as  “deeply  offensive”,    began last year.
  They  are  said to have been  written  by  Robert   Henderson,  who  two  years  ago  penned  a  racist   article criticising the selection of black  players   for the English cricket team.

Detectives were shown a bundle of 100 letters  at   a two hour meeting with the Blairs.

The  letters,  all posted in  London,  have  been   taken away for forensic examination.  But Mrs Blair  is thought to have declined to turn the matter into  a criminal case.
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