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News, gossip and insight from PoliticsHome Editor Paul Waugh

Mulholland v Cummings

It looks like all-out war between the Observer and Michael Gove's advisers today, given the paper's splash.

The front page story centres on allegations of a Twitter smear campaign against Gove's critics.

I've been passed the email exchanges that took place ahead of publication and they give a flavour of just how Dominic Cummings, the Education Secretary's special adviser, views the claims:

 

 

From: Jade Amias

Sent: 01 February 2013 12:59

To: CUMMINGS, Dominic

Cc: PERMANENT, Secretary

Subject: Urgent letter from John Mulholland

Dear Dominic

Please find attached letter from John Mulholland.

Regards

Jade

__________

Jade Amias

PA to John Mulholland, Editor, The Observer Guardian News & Media Limited, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU Direct line: 020 3353 4744

 

 

From: CUMMINGS, Dominic

Sent: 01 February 2013 14:13

To: 'Jade Amias'

Cc: PERMANENT, Secretary

Subject: RE: Urgent letter from John Mulholland

 

Dear Mr Mulholland

I’m not wasting time on the tantrums of Toby Helm and Chris Cook over anonymous Twitter accounts. Am I supposed to take seriously anonymous accusations about anonymous Twitter accounts ridiculing journalists with too much time on their hands?

I suggest that your advice to both of them is: take a Twitter detox because it’s melting your brains, focus on what’s important, stop behaving like 8 year olds, and Mr Helm ought to reflect on the bizarreness of twittering foul-mouthed abuse at people while complaining about being abused on Twitter. What would David Astor make of that?

Please feel free to publish this response in any forum you wish including if you intend to run any ‘story’. I will not waste another minute on such nonsense and neither should you.

Best wishes

Dominic

 

 

From: John Mulholland

Sent: 01 February 2013 14:33

To: CUMMINGS, Dominic

Subject:

 

Dear Dominic,

Many thanks for your speedy response. I note however that you are not denying contributing to @educationews. I would like to give you that opportunity now, again. On one other specific point, can you confirm, or deny, that a senior Conservative Party official - in late summer 2011 - voiced concerns directly to you about the tone of the contributions you were making to @educationews.

Many thanks,

John Mulholland

 

EDITOR

Please consider the environment before printing this email.

 

 

 

From: CUMMINGS, Dominic

Sent: 01 February 2013 15:12

To: 'John Mulholland'

Subject: RE:

 

Dear Mr Mulholland

Have you lost the plot? Now you’re accusing me of being something called @educationnews. Have you even looked at that twitter account? I did just now for a laugh. It has tweeted twice and has 5 followers. What next? What else are you going to invite me to ‘deny’? Am I secretly doing Rupert Murdoch’s twittering while working for Mossad on the side? I strongly advise you to take the advice I gave before or you will embarrass a famous institution even more. This really is my last word on this puerile rubbish.

D

 

 

 

From: John Mulholland

Sent: 01 February 2013 15:28

To: CUMMINGS, Dominic

Subject: Re:

 

Dominic,

Many apologies, and thanks again for your reply.

My previous email should have referred to @toryeducation - as it did in my first email. I suspect you know full well the feed we are referring to - it also has the line 'Tory education news' as part of its Twitter account. Shall we leave aside your references to Mossad and Rupert Murdoch for now and return to the matter at hand?

I noted how your first email did not deny contributing to @educationews. I would like to give you that opportunity again.

And on the other specific point, can you confirm, or deny, that a senior Conservative Party official - in late summer 2011 - voiced concerns directly to you about the tone of the contributions you were making to @educationews.

They seem to me relatively simple questions to answer. We note that the feed in question - hardly an 'anonymous' Twitter feed - is listed as one of just four Twitter members by the Conservative HQ Twitter account.

Many thanks

John Mulholland




From: CUMMINGS, Dominic

Sent: 01 February 2013 16.10

To: 'John Mulholland'

 

Dear Mr Mulholland.

You write:

‘Shall we leave aside your references to Mossad and Rupert Murdoch for now and return to the matter at hand? I noted how your first email did not deny contributing to @educationews. I would like to give you that opportunity again.'

You really MUST look at that account, you’ve now repeated your bizarre accusation! Then confiscate Toby’s phone, send Chris Cook a ‘How to boost your self-­esteem’ book, and stop sending such emails.

Best wishes, and over and out

D

Ps. Once you’ve chillaxed, I would be happy to chat some time about education policy.

 

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