(c) Steve Bell 2016
What is worse for those in the larger part of the Fourth Estate - that’s all the papers who spiked the story of Whittingdale’s relationship with Ms King and then claimed there was no public interest in it - is that not only did they know about the relationship, they knew about it through Djoughdem. It was he who touted the information around Fleet Street. It’s entirely possible Whittingdale did not know about Djoughdem. But the press did.
As Mutch says, “Ms. King reguarly informed Mr Djoughdem of their movements, including occasions where she accompanied Whittingdale on his Parliamentary business”, also stating the obvious: “These revelations that information was passing from Whittingdale to criminal sources will also lend extra weight to former porn star Stephanie Hudson’s allegations that Mr Whittingdale has poor judgement with sensitive material”.
It is here that the parallel with John Profumo, who was forced to resign from Harold Macmillan’s Government in 1963, emerges. Profumo was sharing the attentions of Christine Keeler with Yevgeni Ivanov, the senior naval attaché at the Soviet Embassy in London. The potential for sensitive information - Profumo was Secretary of State for War - to be passed into the wrong hands was all too obvious.
The variation with Whittingdale was that he shared Ms King’s attentions with a member of the criminal underworld, and that the MP “was unknowingly passing information about his relationship, parliamentary business meetings and movements to Mr Djoughdem via Ms King, who was attempting to sell this information to tabloid newspapers”. Worse still, “Djoughdem used to run [the] infamous high end nightclub Wall St. which was known for being a centre of cocaine dealing”. So how did Whittingdale get to become a Minister?
Getting access to cabinet level privileges - and the information that goes with them - should require candidates to have undergone what is called Developed Vetting (DV). The scale and depth of enquiries made during this process would have revealed Whittingdale’s relationship, and Ms King’s connection to Djoughdem. One round of questioning among the Government’s press contacts would - or should - have revealed what they knew.
Was the DV process by-passed for some reason? Did the press keep schtum and not tell Downing Street that they had the story, and that they got it from Djoughdem? Every time more is revealed about this affair, we are told that there is nothing to see here, and that we should move right along. And every time the press establishment is plain flat wrong.