This morning, mercenary hack Isabel Oakeshott gave us a most useful clue to the identity of the leaker who provided the material for her Mail on Sunday splash yesterday: “'Too many civil servants rubbishing Brexit - that's why the #washingtonfiles leak happened' suggests @Nigel_Farage. Sounds about right”. Look over there at the Civil Service!
Isabel Oakeshott - not good at protecting her sources
Thanks, but no thanks. Why would someone “rubbishing Brexit” give an opportunity for Brexiteers to make hay? Indeed, how is anyone “rubbishing Brexit” going to go anywhere near someone like Ms Oakeshott, a fervent pro-Brexit voice and effectively open supporter of the Brexit Party? They aren’t. Good try, but an own goal.
Cui bono, indeed
The Civil Service is not even on my suspects list. But political appointees, who may have access to Kim Darroch’s cables, or know someone who does, certainly are. Now, I’m not saying any of the names about to be pitched Done The Deed. What I am saying is that my Occam’s Razor is pointing inexorably in their general direction.
What kind of person would leak Darroch’s cables, knowing full well the damage they would do to the Ambassador and his standing in Washington DC? Ah well. That someone would be a supporter of London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson - who has committed to visiting DC to meet with Combover Crybaby Donald Trump if he wins the Tory leadership race. The leak would help Bozza no end.
The Ambassador would be recalled and replaced with another fervent Brexiteer, thus appeasing The Donald and making Bozza his pal. So we’re looking for someone who’s backed Bozza, from the same background as the Vote Leave crowd, who has the media connections, the closeness to power, and is nasty enough to do the deed. But most of all, we’re looking for someone stupid enough - given they are likely to get caught, or shopped, eventually.
OH WHAT A GIVEAWAY
Moreover, whoever leaked managed to get their hands on cables all the way from 2016 to 2019, which suggests it wasn’t someone working directly for Bozza, or Jeremy Hunt (the former Culture Secretary) when they were at the FO. But someone who has been a SpAd at 10 Downing Street would fit the bill. So whose name leaps off the page?
Oh look, Stephen Parkinson. Very Vote Leave, and very nasty. Nasty enough to out a former partner, as he did with Shahmir Sanni. But Parkinson is not stupid. Nor is Robbie Gibb, who is also very Brexiteer, and very nasty. Those looking for the leaker should grill both of them. But, although they may know who did it, it most likely wasn’t them.
But then another name in the Number 10 SpAd list leaps off the page, that of Dylan Sharpe. You’d forgotten about him? So had many others. His pedigree fits the bill - he backed Bozza for London Mayor in 2008, worked for Big Brother Watch (a sister campaign of the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance), and was head of press for No to AV. So he’s on the same page as Matthew Elliott, the legendary liar of Vote Leave.
Stephen Parkinson - nasty enough, but not stupid ...
Sharpe was at Business for Britain. His spell as head of PR for the Murdoch Sun established his credentials as a purveyor of rank stupidity, after he sent unsolicited photos of topless women to several recipients who most certainly didn’t appreciate his gesture. The stupidity was compounded when he then played the victim.
... something that also applies to Robbie Gibb ...
Two years ago this month, Sharpe made the journey from the Baby Shard bunker to the Cabinet Office, and the following January moved from there to Downing Street. In the meantime, he has learned not to pick pointless Twitter fights and restrict his open social media activity to leisure interests, such as his support of Watford FC.
... oh hang on a minute, look who's here
If I’d wanted a good Brexiteer team player and convenient fall guy, Dylan Sharpe would be an ideal choice. He’s nasty enough, but stupid with it. And right now, of all the political appointees close to the centre of power, he’s someone the leak investigation should have a chat with. After all, if it wasn’t him, he’s got nothing to fear.
Or we could just wait for Ms Oakeshott to give us a repeat of the Vicky Pryce fiasco. Either way, the identity of the Whitehall mole will not remain secret for long. More to come.
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