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Are emails sent out from 10 Downing St monitored and if so by whom? I think we should be told.

"Mr McBride is no longer employed as a special adviser"

That form of words is a bit worrying. Do we know with certainty that he isn't being employed by the Civil Service doing something else?

I should ask Mr Maude why has this not been approached from a legal perspective? There are laws protecting individuals against a conspiracy to defame, and if the allegations were unfounded there would be ripe grounds to lodge a prosecution.

The Conservative party used to have a beating heart of legal brains, where have they all gone?

Sir Gus wrote: "Mr McBride is no longer employed as a special adviser. His resignation was accepted immediately and had immediate effect. He has not received severance pay."

I note that it does not say McBride is no longer employed by the Civil Service. What is the current situation? Is he working somewhere else in government?

Hang on, this isn't responsive to the eight questions in their own terms. Maude must write back and get a full answer.

Mr. McBride may not have received 'severance' pay, but that doesn't mean that he has not received some other sort of termination compensation!

This is like a spat between cannibals over table etiquette.Politicians and the whole political system are corrupt and criminal beyond repair.At least muggers and burglars don't strike moral poses and pretend they are offering their victims a public service.If this unseemly spectacle puts the final nail in the coffin of politics as is it will have done us all a great service.

The Cabinet Secretary Gus O'Donnell has not answered the questions.

He will therefore have to be replaced after the GE.


O'Donnell even writes a book with Ed Balls. A bit too close to Labour for a civil servant?

James Forsyth/Spectator.

@ Mark Williams

I also note that Gus wrote:

"He has not received severance pay."

That statement does not preclude severance pay in the future!

The Prime Minister has been assured? By whom and what research did they carry out – this is a pointless empty smokescreen has the writer any understanding of our language.

I agree that the answers were vague and meaningless, but what if he had simply said "we will not let matters rest there", surely that would have been enough, as it would have been as detailed as the Tory EU policy!

My point? They're all trying to play the old spin non-answer games. It is just that we all know it now and both sides are as bad as the other.

Is Sir Gus really suggesting that no one other than Goprdon Brown was responsible for what happened in his own home ? If the Cabinet Office minister was not responsible, who else could be ?

Surely nobody expected anything other than the most bland and evasive statement from the Cabinet Secretary. He clearly takes his lead from Prime Minister Brown who has taken not answering questions and avoiding responsibility to an art form.

As a non party emmber (I was back in the 90s) but who broadly supports the Conservatives can I sound a note of caution to the "anoracks" Maude's list of questinos reminds me a little bit of the questions from Grieve over Damien Green. It all looks a little "inside politics" to the outsider. It may, just may be the case that this story will back fire on Labour. However, it is best to let the process take its own course. It is actually very very unhelpful to the Tories to keep this story in the news because 1. The Tories don't stand to benefit froma clean up politics campaign2 in the same way that Blair did. People still remember the 90s. This sort of thing will benefit the minor parties if anyone. 2. Actually the smears are now out there and being repeated. Do you really want people to get those images associated in their mind with George and Dave?

Dave should never have commented on this. He should be "above the fray". He should have moved on and said "It's silly, purile and nasty, typical Labour -but I've got more important things to talk about such..."

I am surprised that Mr Maude did not ask whether Mr McBride had a job description and what his reporting lines were- was he subject to annual appraisals and was there any contract of employment?
If he was a Cival Servant then these would have been standard procedure

"Dave should never have commented on this. He should be "above the fray".

Dave, very true, it was sad to see senior Conservatives willingly being sucked into this nasty business. The correct response should have been sober, detached, and aimed at looking for a way to prosecute on grounds of defamation.

Apparently this bloke seriously abused his public office for party political purposes, and I've been forced to help pay for him to do that.

For me it's secondary that his abuse of office was directed against Tories on behalf of the Labour party - if the reverse were true, I would still strongly object to the abuse of public office, and I would still strongly object to being forced to help pay for it.

Also as far as I'm concerned, it's certainly an aggravating factor that he proposed to use such vile methods, but the central issue - the crime - is his serious abuse of public office for party political purposes.

And if proved in court it would be a crime, the common law offence of "misconduct in public office", as described on the website of the Crown Prosecution Service:


Those individuals who believe that they have been defamed can defend their interests through civil actions, but who is going to defend the interests of citizens and taxpayers in general, by insisting that the process of criminal investigation and prosecution must be initiated?

Nobody, apparently, apart from:


and, it has become increasingly clear, nobody on the Opposition front bench.

What's that about, then?

Does the party of "zero tolerance" towards law-breakers have a rather selective commitment to the rule of law?

Would it prefer not to see any legal precedent set, which might cause problems for future Tory governments?

I hate to sound like a one-note trumpet, but civil servants have been deceiving the public for years, and Conservative politicians at all levels were quite happy with this provided that it was done for a cause they agreed with.

It's a bit rich to complain about duplicity and evasion only now when you yourselves happen to be at the receiving end. If you'd stood up for others in the past, the civil service would already be aware that you regarded such behaviour as unacceptable and that you did so as a matter of principle. As it is, they know exactly the opposite: that the only reason anyone in the Conservative Party cares is because it's senior Conservative Party politicians at the receiving end, and that the moment there's no further partisan advantage to be gained, it'll be dropped without a murmur and back to business as usual.

I strongly agree with those who feel that the Conservatives are over reacting to this situation. Instead of dismissing it as an example of how desperate, untrustworthy and unpleasant No 10 and the Labour government is and showing that they are more concerned with the real business of government, Cameron & Co are milking the situation for all it is worth.

By doing this they not only demonstrate that they put public relations above principles, but also just how out of touch they are with the concerns of ordinary (real) people.

David Parker, you make some great points. At this time of recession and madcap borrowing I don't want to see the headlines hogged by this nonsense.

Slander should be addressed through legal channels.

This website too, among others, is taking the focus off the issues that effect ordinary people by focusing on this nonsense.

they not only demonstrate that they put public relations above principles

So you think it's acceptable to plot to circulate vicious lies about people? Ever had it done to you? It's not very nice, take it from me; I've been at the receiving end of lying bullying and the perpetrators deserve everything that can be done to them.

furthermore, it goes beyond personal felings: it's a clear example of the type of mentality running the Uk at the moment. If anything, it's actually more important the more usual issues that hit the headlines; this goes to the root causes of Britian's problems, rather than the more obvious symptoms.

11 of the past 12 ToryDiary threads have been about the McBride affair.

Euro elections in June boys. Just thought I'd mention it...

Slander/libel is a civil matter; the wronged individual can seek redress through through the courts.

Misconduct in public office is a criminal matter; the state acts on behalf of all citizens, not just those who have been directly and personally wronged.

I fear that you are quite correct, David Parker.

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