Dorries’ Smears Continue: Who Are the “Other MPs” She Claims Have Reported Tim Ireland to Police?

Not completely unexpectedly, Nadine Dorries MP has published a new blog entry continuing her smear campaign against the blogger Tim Ireland, and trying to justify misleading information on her blog. Their dispute had been discussed on the Sky News blog on Monday. Dorries complains:

I have reported Tim Ireland to the House of Commons police on three occasions and the Chief Constable of Bedfordshire Police explored the option of triggering section 5 of the Public Disorder Act. The House of Commons Police informed me that Mr Ireland had actually rang their office demanding to know if he had been reported. He had and they were seeking advice from the Met harassment unit.

…The Sky Boulton blog was outrageous and distressing. John Craig, their political reporter felt there was nothing wrong in legitimising a man I and other MPs have felt the need to report to the Police.

Curiously, however, the police haven’t even had so much as an informal word with Tim about any of this, and Dorries refuses to provide dates or reference numbers. One is put in mind of Hotspur’s assessment of Owen Glendower’s boasts about calling up spirits: “Why, so can I, or so can any man. But will they come?” We know that the police sometimes ignore legitimate complaints, but surely a complaint of harassment from a Member of Parliament would have been taken seriously, and if there had been a case to answer Tim would have been called to account? The details are also vague and inaccurate, as legal blogger Gaijin-San notes: there is no “Public Disorder Act”, and the provisions of similarly-named real Acts she may have had in mind are inadequate.

But what of these “other MPs” who supposedly reported Tim? We know from other statements which she has made that she is referring to Patrick Mercer MP and to Anne Milton MP. The latter is Tim’s constituency MP, and Tim got into a dispute with her over the alleged actions of a couple of her activists. No complaint was made to the police about Tim.

However, I’m more interested in Patrick Mercer MP, who has a nice sideline in providing scary quotes about terrorist threats to tabloid newspapers: these often crumble under closer scrutiny, such as his claim that the Taliban are using HIV-bombs. Some material was previously passed to Mercer from Glen Jenvey, who was discovered by Tim in early 2009 to have concocted evidence of a terrorist conspiracy by leaving bogus messages on a Muslim discussion forum; it seems that Jenvey’s aim had been to make provocative postings in order to draw out extremists, but that when this proved insufficient he used his own postings as evidence. Mercer, amid some embarrassment, eventually distanced himself from Jenvey.

However, Jenvey and Mercer both had another associate, named Dominic Wightman (also known as “Dominic Whiteman”). Wightman was another self-styled “terror tracker”, monitoring Islamic extremism on-line as director of the “VIGIL Network”. In 2006, Mercer introduced Wightman to officers at New Scotland Yard, posing with him for a photo-op outside the building, and he probably facilitated Wightman’s appearance on Newsnight around the same time.

Alas, though, the association proved to be another embarrassment for Mercer: some months later, Wightman was sued by a former employee at VIGIL over lack of payment and he became a bankrupt (he also had other business debts). It also eventually transpired that Wightman was dishonest: he concocted a pseudonymous document attacking Tim and including private information about him, which he then drew to our attention. He claimed that it had been written by a university lecturer working with Jenvey; police, however, traced it back to Wightman. The university lecturer concerned had initially supported VIGIL, but had come to have serious concerns about Wightman; Wightman’s purpose, which was at first successful but ultimately a failure, was to manipulate Tim and me into attacking him. I wrote about all this here.

Naturally, the easiest thing for Mercer to do was to shrug this all off by accusing Tim of being an “electronic stalker”; there is specific reason to think that he has discussed Tim with Dorries. Mercer likes to throw the “stalker” label around: he recently used it to discredit a subordinate administrator at the House of Commons with whom he had had an affair (although he did confirm that the affair had taken place). But did Mercer make a complaint about Tim to the police, as Dorries strongly infers? Again, if so, Tim has heard nothing about it.

Tim deals with Dorries’ accusations here. It needs to be stressed that her poisonous lies have already borne fruit, as they have been used by a third party to harass Tim for real: this person is a cyberthug named Charlie Flowers, who, like many other bullies, justifies his viciousness by pretending to be a vigilante. Last year Flowers, along with his “Cheerleader” accomplices and a man named Matthew Edwards, published Tim’s home address on-line and sent threats of violence; Flowers has cited Dorries as the reason for his actions, and his associates have alluded to  Dorries to incite others to join his campaign, on the grounds that Tim “stalks women”. Flowers claims to have been in contact with Dorries, although Dorries so far has not responded to queries on the subject.

Flowers knows that Dorries’ story is untrue; he is another former associate of Wightman and Jenvey, and like Jenvey he has himself been involved with attempting to manipulate Muslim websites by posting provocative messages (in one case, outing Jenvey as gay after Jenvey converted to Islam). Flowers and his associates were also involved with hounding the university lecturer. However, the Dorries cover story allows him to slander Tim further and to obscure the truth; Flowers is keen to obfuscate, as he has recently been attempting to insinuate himself into various activist groups.