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Boris Johnson’s Former Weblog Administrator Accuses Him of Ignoring Paedo-Smear Complaint

The latest from Tim Ireland:

I was producing/administrating Boris Johnson’s weblog at the time Anne Milton’s activists were smearing an opponent as a paedophile, but I went out of my way to avoid jeopardising the all-too-rare example of a Conservative MP subjecting themselves to a little public scrutiny…

Hell, I even bit my tongue when Boris jovially referenced Anne Milton during a meeting and described the relevant dispute as a “personal disagreement”.

…I’ve often wondered how things would have turned out if I used my position to press the point with Boris Johnson at the time, and now I’ve got a pretty good idea because, as the following correspondence reveals, someone else took it up with Boris Johnson at the time (after his public endorsement of Anne Milton) and he took no discernable action.

I blogged on the background to this last month: the smear had been made on an anonymous blog, but Tim Ireland worked out where it had come from and attempted to alert Milton and the Conservative Party to the evidence. However, his efforts were not appreciated: Jonathan Lord, MP for Woking and at that time Chairman of the Guildford Conservative Association, declined to act on the grounds that the target of the “paedophile” smear had not himself complained, that no criminal law had been broken, and because Tim had contacted him by email rather than on paper.

Tim has now published correspondence sent by a second person on the subject of the two activists, dating from 2007. Here’s this person’s message to Boris Johnson:

Dear Boris,

I was present at your appearence at the University of Surrey Students’ Union – thank you for making the short journey from London. As someone interested in politics – though certainly not of your colour – it was refreshing to see that you attracted plenty of people.

I’m afraid I have to take exception with your comments about Anne Milton. She is far from being a wonderful MP ‘fighting crime on the streets’. She’s is both ineffective and profoundly dishonest. Two Conservative local activists, who will be standing in the local elections, and who were sitting in the front row at your appearence, have been involved in dirty campaign involving the setting up of a libellous blog to spread viscious rumours about a political opponent [snip]. This has been exposed by Tim Ireland – the person who built your weblog – and David Cameron’s office has been made aware. You can read the details at Tim’s site by following the links in this article: [link snipped] Anne Milton has known about this campaign for a substantial amount of time and, by not reacting to it, she has provided her tacit support to such revolting measures. Today, you provided the bumbling yet ever-so-lovable face of the Tory party and you clearly captivated the students – this is no doubt due to your affable nature. It is also incredibly dangerous. Dirty campaigns such as this one, which are supported by your MPs and even your leadership, show that the Conservative party is still insidious to its core. It truly deserves the ‘nasty party’ label. I’m disappointed that you extended your support to Anne Milton today, though I appreciate that you were probably unaware of what has been going on in Guildford. If, as I hope you do, you find this repulsive, then please have a word in David Cameron’s ear and get him to make it clear that such actions won’t be tolerated.

Thanks,

Xxxxx Xxxxxxxxxxxx

The author of the above never got beyond a curt acknowledgement from Johnson’s office, even though, according to Tim, the complaint did reach Johnson’s personal attention. However, he was contacted by Anne Milton’s office, and advised to contact Jonathan Lord. This was the eventual response received:

Dear Xx Xxxxxxxxx,

I have double-checked your first email.

You call Anne Milton MP “profoundly dishonest”, and you refer us to a blog that is antagonistic to Anne Milton MP and Guildford Conservatives.

If you have a complaint that you wish to be taken seriously then I require it in writing, and with any supporting evidence in writing. I therefore refer you to my previous email.

I am sure that there is a return address (of your parents, of a friend, of your place of study or your workplace) to which any reply of our Association could be directed.

Our email correspondence on this matter is now at an end.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Jonathan Lord
Chairman, G.C.A.

As Tim revealed last month, he recently had a chance to raise the matter with Lord in person: Lord explained “off the record” that he had had stern words with the two activists in private, but no more than that. This was because they were themselves standing as candidates in a council election and he didn’t “want to give succour” to political opponents by removing two individuals clearly unsuited to any role in public life.

Perhaps this kind of shabby way of dealing with things is par for the course in politics, but if so it’s a pretty grim state of affairs. As ever, Tim’s complaint about the two activists was backed up with evidence which anyone could verify independently – Tim’s supposed “antagonistic” attitude is neither here nor there. And the demand that a complaint must come via paper rather than email is simply an insult.

It seems that in politics, when a complaint comes in, the first question asked is: “Can we ignore it?” If the answer is “No”, the next question is: “Can we deflect it?” – either by fobbing off the complainant or attempting to discredit the complaint. Only as a last resort will someone reluctantly consider: “Shall we actually try to uphold some decent standards in public life?” And then – if we’re really lucky – someone just might have a quiet word with someone.

It should also be remembered that in 2005 Anne Milton addressed Tim’s critical interest in her campaign by suggesting that it was a form of stalking – an accusation which has since been used by others as a convenient way to deflect attention (see here).

One Response

  1. […] to be advising the mayor on anything. However, it’s unlikely to worry Boris Johnson; Tim has previous knowledge of Johnson ignoring a paedo-smear complaint, and we all remember Johnson in 1990 promising to help […]

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