The Murdoch goons at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun have, on the face of it, reported today in a fairly open manner on the trial of Sam Armstrong, chief of staff to Tory MP Craig Mackinlay, who stands accused of raping a young woman in the MP’s offices close to the Palace of Westminster. But once again, someone has been selective here, removing the presence of one of their own staff in the drama.
The flannelled fool - edited out of his own paper
This is what the Sun says: “Southwark Crown Court heard how the 24-year-old then pounced at 2am as the woman dozed in his boss’ office … He is said to have called her a ‘b****’ after she woke to him kissing her and she turned him down … He then allegedly began taking her clothes off and assaulted her, saying ‘this is what you want’, jurors were told”. But the BBC report is rather more revealing.
“Southwark Crown Court heard the woman sent a message to her boyfriend … ‘Keeping you in the loop. I've given it to Harry Cole who works for the Sun. It will either be in the Mail on Sunday or the Sun front page on Monday,’ it said … Jurors were told the message was sent 15 hours after the alleged assault, and a later message said: ‘The media already knew so this is my way of controlling it to ensure I get a sympathetic writer’”.
Why the woman thought Master Cole would be a “sympathetic writer” is unclear: as I told at the time, he was effectively dobbing in one of his own. Armstrong, like Cole, had been a close friend of disgraced activist Mark Clarke, central figure in the Tory Bullying scandal and source of the never to be forgotten mantra “Isolate, Inebriate, Penetrate”. Both had connections to the now-moribund Young Britons’ Foundation.
Sam Armstrong (left) with his pals Mark Clarke and India Brummitt
It gets worse for Cole: the story wasn’t in the Mail on Sunday, and it certainly wasn’t on the Sun’s front page, or even any other page, on the Monday. His story did not appear until the following day. Why the delay? Was it being legalled? If so, why did it take so long for that process to complete? More pertinently, was it being discussed with any of Cole’s pals? Was anyone being warned what was coming? When did he inform Sun bosses?
Master Cole might not fancy answering any of those questions, but those investigating the complaint of rape just might. Moreover, the thought occurs that Cole should be called to give evidence, especially now he has been named by the complainant, who has “insisted she did not sell the story and explained it had been a friend who spoke to the Sun … I really didn't want my identity to come out and it was a state where I had absolutely no control in the event, so I wanted a little bit of control”.
Did she know that Cole most likely knew Armstrong? Did he tell the complainant, or her representative? And how come nobody has yet mentioned that Armstrong was so close to the disgraced Clarke and the Tory bullying scandal that he was barred from the party’s conference the previous year? And intimately involved in the plot to smear Tory MP Robert Halfon over his affair with Alexandra Paterson? Questions, questions.
Meanwhile, the trial continues. Perhaps Master Cole will enlighten everyone soon.