Inexplicably invited back on by the BBC - a courtesy yet to be extended to the Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr - has been mercenary hack Isabel Oakeshott, who fetched up on the Radio 4 Today Programme this morning. Here, she attempted to distance herself from the alleged “man who bankrolled Brexit” Arron Banks, a line which may prove difficult to establish, given the evidence mounting up against her.
As Alex Andreou observed, “Isabel Oakeshott on #r4today: ‘If I could just correct you, there. I am not close to Arron Banks. I did some work for him about three years ago, now.’ … This is known as the ‘Reverse Trump’. It was a long time ago. I was in a junior position. I hardly knew the man, etc”. And like much of what Trump says, it’s not true.
Well, minor point, eh? Andreou had more to say: “She has practically made a career for herself as a pundit for the last few years by claiming to be THE journalist inside the Leave Dot EU campaign. How is she allowed to rewrite history now by claiming her involvement was brief, minor and tangential?”. She is convincing no-one.
Least of all Peter Jukes, who still didn’t hack or otherwise improperly obtain those emails. “My understanding, which @IsabelOakeshott and @LordAshcroft are welcome to correct, was that she came across those Russian related emails when planning to write a revised version of #BadBoysofBrexit in November last year. That’s only a year ago”. Do go on.
“Yes, this has got to be right. How else would Oakeshott had access to Andy Wigmore’s emails a year ago unless she was writing a new edition of her book?” Steve Peers was equally unimpressed. “Oakeshott was hired by Banks to write a book on him, she said that she had access to his email database and text message records - but now she says that she was the coffee girl?” So let’s see the evidence for the “three years ago” claim.
“Oakeshott says she did not discover the stunning extent of Banks’ true dealings with Russia until last year” told the Daily Beast - in June this year. Yes, no-one prompted her, and the emails were gathering dust in her attic, but then they just jumped up and stunned her. And there was more. “Describing herself as ‘a long-standing Brexit supporter,’ who is close to [Nigel] Farage and Banks”. Present tense. June 2018.
Dan Sabbagh in the Guardian, also in June 2018: “The emails from Banks and key associates were collected by the journalist Isabel Oakeshott, who knows Banks well”. Present tense. June 2018. Jim Waterson, also in the Guardian, the day after Sabbagh’s article: “At the weekend she said she remained in contact with Banks and Wigmore”. She remains in contact with them. Present tense. And Arron Banks himself has more.
Banks to Ms Cadwalladr, also June 2018: “I was told by @IsabelOakeshott that her emails were hacked by Byline / @guardian and that you were using stolen information”. That information must have come after it was known that she and Jukes had those emails. Which put the conversation - surprise, surprise - at June 2018.
And who helped her get that story into the Murdoch Sunday Times, in an attempt to spoil the Observer’s scoop? Don’t all shout the name at once.
Isabel Oakeshott has her pants well alight once more. No surprise there, then.
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