One reason there has been such a concerted attempt to smear the Labour leadership of late is the upcoming round of local elections. But there is also the small matter of diverting attention away from the allegations of improper behaviour surrounding the Leave campaign, which have come perilously close to Theresa May. The reason for the closeness is the presence at her side of one Stephen Parkinson.
Parkinson was implicated in those allegations of improper behaviour. He then viciously outed Shahmir Sanni, the newest whistleblower to come forward, with 10 Downing Street’s assistance, such was his desperation to frighten his former partner into silence. Not only has Shahmir Sanni has been forced to come out to his mother and the rest of his family, he has been forced to arrange security for family members in Pakistan.
So far, so dirty, but now that Parkinson’s role in both the potentiality seriously bad behaviour from the Vote Leave campaign, and his presence as political secretary to the MP, have enjoyed, shall we say, a significantly raised profile, the question has been put: when is Theresa May going to sack the SOB? But not to worry, her former spinner Nick Timothy was on hand to show how he lost her the last election.
“Stephen Parkinson is a good friend. He wouldn’t dream of outing somebody for cynical reasons. In fact when he was a Tory candidate in 2010, he was, ludicrously (but inevitably, being a Tory), accused of homophobia. So he was forced to come out himself”.
Hannah Jone Parkinson (no relation) of the Guardian did not want to Look Over There. “Maybe you should think about a) why some people (especially older) “ludicrously” think Tories might hold homophobic views, & b) why people find it so difficult to come out, & maybe come to the conclusion that the Tory party passed legislation to demonise LGBTQ people for decades”. Nick had difficulty taking this on board.
“It was ludicrous because Labour smeared him as homophobic when he is gay. And you might want to remember it wasn’t a Labour government that introduced same-sex marriage but the Tories”. Er, Section 28. And this isn’t a Labour-Tory issue.
Ms Parkinson duly put the ball in the open net. “Um, you said yourself that he was not out at that point. So it wasn’t the case that it was ludicrous bcos he was gay. & you might want to remember that it was coalition government that introduced same-sex marriage & partly the Tory support was to redeem its awful LGBT reputation”.
But good to see the desperate spin that is now being deployed in order to try and save Stephen Parkinson’s skin. Sadly, Sam Coates of the Murdoch Times had bad news for The Blue Team: “Theresa May has full confidence in her political secretary Stephen Parkinson, No10 says”. So that’ll be him out of Downing Street by the weekend.
And in any case, the story is moving on. After pausing to ask simply “Why?” to Coates’ news, Carole Cadwalladr introduced the next instalment, “What did Boris know?”
What indeed. This scandal has now touched the Prime Minister, and is about to hit our comedy Foreign Secretary. No wonder the Tories want us all to look elsewhere.