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Guido Fawkes (Paul Staines)

John Simkin

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Guido Fawkes (Paul Staines) is probably the most important political blogger in the UK:


He is a right-wing Tory that usually concentrates on Labour Party scandals. However, like other right-wing extremists he is also homophobic and recently broke the William Hague story. Even that might have been an attempt to direct attention from the important political scandal of the moment, the Andy Coulson phone-hacking story. This is a story that Staines has been unwilling to contribute. In fact, his main role in this matter is to smear those who have come forward to provide evidence that Coulson was guilty of phone-hacking. He has been especially harsh on Chris Bryant, the gay Labour MP who is taking legal action against the News of the World for hacking his phone. He is one person who will not settle out of court.

Yesterday it was the turn of Paul McMullan to come under fire from Staines. McMullan gave an interview to the Guardian claiming that Andy Coulson was aware of phone-hacking when he worked under him at the News of the World.

Staines posted on his blog yesterday: “Coulson Cleared: Well not quite, but Channel 4 News have certainly put The Guardian in a tricky spot. The paper’s strategy is to drip out one former Screws hack every day to keep the story alive, but it seems that they are grasping at straws already:

“Paul McMullan told the Guardian newspaper this morning that David Cameron’s communications chief “would certainly be well aware that the practice was pretty widespread,” but Channel 4 News has learnt from the former features executive that he left the paper in 2001, two years before Mr Coulson became its chief.”

What Staines failed to tell his readers is that this item did not appear on Channel 4 News because by the time it went out at 7 pm they realised it was they who had made the mistake. McMullan was employed by the News of the World from May 2000. He worked under Andy Coulson, who was deputy editor at the time, for 18 months. Channel 4 News and Paul Staines had failed to acknowledge that Coulson was deputy editor before he took the top job.

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