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Tuesday 2 June 2015

Sun Pundit - Pants On Fire

Dishonesty is, for some ex-politicians, a habit they cannot get out of. Worse, they cannot see that they have been, and continue to be, unreliable witnesses. This can manifest itself in the mistaken belief that they were honest all along, and can therefore pretend to be gravely affronted when reality is pointed out to them. One prime example of this genre decided the other day to parade her self-denial for all to see.
(c) Doc Hackenbush 2014

Yes, to no surprise at all, (thankfully) former Tory MP Louise Mensch still believes that her time in the House of Commons was one of total and unquestionable honesty, and to this end she was prepared to take to Twitter and declare “I never lied as a politician, not once, not ever. I also never briefed. Ever”. That’s a most interesting assertion. It is also a straightforward task to demonstrate that it is a significantly false one.

As the Department for Culture, Media and Sport select committee grilled a number of witnesses during July 2011, Ms Mensch said, not once, but twice, “As a former editor of the Daily Mirror [Piers Morgan] said in his book The Insider recently that that 'little trick' of entering a 'standard four digit code' will allow 'anyone' to call a number and 'hear all your messages'. In that book, he boasted that using that 'little trick' enabled him to win scoop of the year on a story about Sven-Goran Eriksson. That is a former editor of the Daily Mirror being very open about his personal use of phone hacking”.
Channel 4 FactCheck observedyes, Mensch is right that he gives his readers a tutorial in phone hacking, but this is quite blatantly not an open admission from Morgan that he hacked phones, routinely or at all … Piers Morgan is big enough and ugly enough to fight his own battles. But in the absence of any confession to phone hacking in his book, FactCheck can’t let Louise Mensch skip off into the sunset with her cloak of parliamentary privilege flapping in Morgan’s face”. It got worse for the then MP.

Challenged by CNN host Wolf Blitzer - who had Piers Morgan on the phone - to repeat her allegations outside Parliament, Ms Mensch demonstrated that she was of less than perfect courage. She declined. Then, nine days later, she finally apologised.

Then there is the claim on briefing. Ms Mensch admitted “that she had one briefing from News Corp's European public affairs director, Frédéric Michel”. When she and Tom Watson were arguing over the committee’s report, and she suggested including a timeline of amendments, he Tweeted “You mean James Murdoch's second letter that seemed to uncannily answer concerns raised in private discussions? No problem”.

On the question of briefing, I’ll believe Ms Mensch had no part in it when that statement is explained, along with any and all contact she had with the Murdoch empire before she decided to tell the world that Rupert Murdoch was a “fit person” to run a business. And on the question of lying, the Piers Morgan claim made under privilege is just that.

The lies always catch up with you. Even if you sincerely believe you didn’t tell them.

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