The art of tabloid news, as Zelo Street regulars will know by now, consists not only of getting some stories out there, but preventing others from doing the same. Hence anything that assists the attacks on politicians of inconvenient view, judges making decisions that their proprietors don’t like, and Slebs who exercise their right to speak freely gets out there, while anything on the likes of John Whittingdale most certainly does not.
So it was that the Tabs knew all about Whitto and his relationships with a number of known sex workers, but published nothing - not until Byline Media, with Zelo Street in the vanguard, had put the story out there. So it also seems to be with Labour MP Keith Vaz, about whom sources independent of one another have recently voiced concern, but who is still in post as MP for Leicester East, and still sitting on a Commons committee.
Accusations: Natalie Rowe
This state of affairs has not pleased Natalie Rowe, former purveyor of strict disciplinary measures to the Rt Hon Gideon George Oliver Osborne, heir to the Seventeenth Baronet. After the Mirror stung Vaz in true red-top fashion paying rent boys for sex, she hinted very firmly that the MP could look forward to rather more dirt being dished in the very near future. But thus far there has been much indignation, and little revelation.
Heavyweight opinion: The Great Guido
After Vaz got himself onto that Commons committee, Ms Rowe voiced her concern on Twitter - in Tweets which are still live. “So when #Vaz intervened when Leicester City Council tried to evict a tenant suspected of running a male brothel, things become clearer” she began last November, adding soon afterwards “I personally have seen #Vaz come out of a known brothel”. And there was more.
Only two weeks ago she asserted “So EVERYONE is aware, I gave ALL details that I knew via a source regarding #KeithVaz, that he was a Landlord of a brothel in Earls Court … @TheSun had Vaz Male - Escorts Years before ON Video, I Asked why they didn't run: Said there wasn't enough evidence … The Sun was more pissed off that their golden boy Vaz had been exposed & that Mirror had the SCOOP of the YEAR”.
There are two significant claims there: that Vaz is alleged to have been the landlord of a brothel in Earl’s Court, and that the Sun has significant dirt on the MP that it has declined thus far to publish. So far, so interesting, but the accusations of improper behaviour are also coming from the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog. Staines is often wayward on facts, but his claims are still live as I type.
This was the Fawkes take: “Keith Vaz was under police investigation over year ago on suspicion of financial corruption and historic allegations of under-age sex. Speaker Bercow was informed of this and fellow MPs demanded - Andrew Bridgen in writing - that he step down from his position on the Home Affair Select Committee”. Vaz has since threatened legal action against Bridgen. And then comes the really damning claim.
“It is widely known around Westminster that Vaz - who owes his career to Greville Janner - was the unidentified MP in this Sun front page from last year … Vaz offering to buy cocaine for rent boys is at the mild end of Vaz’s sleazy life and times”. The Sunday Sun front page simply said “COPS TOLD: TOP LABOUR MP IS PAEDO”. The story is still live.
These are two sources who are independent of one another. Both are effectively saying the same thing: there is a lot yet to be revealed about Keith Vaz, and if and when it comes out, it will be of a career-terminating nature.
The Fawkes folks have not added to their claims for a while: the thought enters that The Great Guido, being an establishment sell-out, has been advised to keep the MP on the back burner. Ms Rowe suffers from no such restriction.
In the days when the deeply unsavoury Kelvin McFilth was editing the paper, the standing joke was that he had a large safe full of dirt on the good and the great which could be used to keep them in line. Now the name of Keith Vaz has been pitched - and by two very different sources - as someone on whom the Murdoch mafiosi have dirt.
So the question has to be put: what dirt has the Sun got on Keith Vaz, and, more importantly, what’s preventing them from dishing it? We’re waiting.