The Thick of It s04e06 Episode Script

Series 4, Episode 6

Tickel's dead! I need to have the e-mail.
I'll do it.
Are you for the chop, Mrs Murray? Ha-ha! Very funny! Quiet Batpeople on every fucking paper! What are you doing at my computer?! I'm bringing down Mannion by leaking an e-mail.
Mr Tickel's medical records were illegally acquired.
I have decided to stand down as leader.
The Guardian have received an e-mail from Fergus with all of our comments about Mr Tickel underneath.
You were supposed to redact it, send the top e-mail, not the whole fucking exchange! If a government can't leak, do you know what happens? Dark shit builds up.
What the fuck is going on? There's going to be an inquiry.
And then it bursts! This is an inquiry into the death of Mr Douglas Tickel, and the practice and culture of the dissemination of confidential information between political parties and the public media.
Mr Weir.
Thank you, Lord Goolding.
Our first witness today is, er, is Mr Stewart Pearson.
No, it's It's fine.
Er, yeah, um, I, Stewart Pearson, do sincerely declare and affirm that the evidence I shall give will be the truth, the whole truth, and, and nothing but, er, the truth.
On page 235 of your witness statement, you describe yourself as the, the human router in government.
Can you, er, can you explain what you meant by that? Um, I'm a-a router in the sense that I control the governmental, informational ingestion and egestion process.
Mr Pearson just to clarify your job is to make sure that the public perception of your government's programme is a positive one.
Is that fair? It's not about perception.
Yeah? I believe in government as a transceiver, hm? Transceiver.
Yeah, it's really important, sure, to give out a strong signal, but to be effective, you've got to listen for an echo.
Could you possibly speak in plain English? I'm sorry, I-I thought I was.
So what IS clear is that you are an important man, Mr Pearson.
I'm just a lad from Leeds with a lust for life, yeah? There's an African proverb that's stuck with me, yeah? "If you think you're too small to make a difference, "you've never spent a night with a mosquito.
" So part of your job is to make sure that the government's message gets across clearly? Is that right? That's correct.
And despite the sarcasm marinating that question, I'm very successful in that endeavour.
No, there was no sarcasm intended at all, Mr Pearson.
Sorry, I must have misread your face.
Does your job intrude on your home life? No.
No, when I close the front door, I I'm no longer Stewart Pearson.
When you, when you I mean, when I when I close it from the from the inside.
You know, when I close it from the outside then I then I very much AM Stewart Pearson.
So who are you at home? Er, I'm a husband, I'm a pardon me, a lover, I'm a carpenter, I'm a cook, I'm a flautist.
A-a? A flautist.
I play the flute.
And I dabble on the Irish bodhran.
Erm, and would you like to express any remorse for Mr Tickel's death? What would you like to say to his family? Er, I would like to offer them maximum respect, you know? And maximum remorse.
And maximum assurance that Mr Tickel did not die in vain.
We're here.
You know? How can we make the government and the media inclusive without being intrusive? Yeah And if we can answer that, at least we can make sure there are no more Mr Tickels.
I mean that I mean that not in the sense of, you know, wiping out the Tickel family name.
I mean it in the sense that nothing like this will ever happen again.
Hello, Mr Pearson.
Tab 28 in your bundle there, page 263 a paper that you presented in 2006, The Iconography of Consensus.
Would you care to summarise the argument you present there? Sure, yeah, the main thrust Bearing in mind Lord Goolding's desire for plainness and clarity.
Er, I hypothesise that Sorry.
I say that the design structure for a parliamentary democracy should be that of the Pompidou Centre.
Morally and structurally explicit and open, a porous membrane.
Maybe just a little bit plainer, Mr Pearson.
People should know, er what politicians are doing.
Government should be porous? Yes.
But not leaking? Come on.
If someone is determined to leak information, there's nothing that anyone can do about that.
So as Director of Communications, you are unable to prevent sensitive material being communicated to journalists? If someone chokes on a packet of crisps, do you issue an arrest warrant for Gary Lineker? Is it fair to say that you have in fact changed nothing, and government communications carries on exactly as they did before, by leaks and whispers? No, it is not fair to say that.
In fact, as you disapprove and condemn these practices, are they not more covert and more hidden and more secret than ever before? I think that is also an unreasonable assertion.
In spite of your desire to create a political Pompidou Centre, haven't you created the opposite, Centrepoint? Everybody sees it looming over them, but nobody has any idea what happens inside.
I think there's some kind of club on the top floor.
So, Mr Pearson, have you identified the source of the leak No of Mr Tickel's records? No.
Have you ever leaked yourself? No.
No, I was, I was over that pre-Britpop.
Do you have any idea where the leak might have come from? Well, you know, if this was CSI Miami, I guess we'd be looking for the person who had the most to gain from the leak being made public.
Well, er, despite your shirt, this ISN'T CSI Miami.
Who do you think would benefit most from the leak? Well, I guess I'd be sending David Caruso knocking on the door of Mr Malcolm Tucker.
Can I ask you, how would you describe yourself? Er, I'm a media strategist.
So you would be Stewart Pearson's opposite number? Er, well, I'd be Stewart Pearson's opposite in every possible way, I think.
You have a lot of control and power over your party, don't you? Ah-ha! I wish, yes! Um, no.
I think that that's been overstated.
So this reputation you have as an enforcer, that's completely misrepresenting you, is it? It's baloney.
Politicians who have to do things that they don't want to do, such as resign er, because they've been caught with their fingers in the till, or, you know, with their knickers up a flagpole or whatever, they sometimes it's very convenient for them to have a bogeyman.
"Malcolm made me do it.
" Well, I didn't make them do it.
These are people who just find themselves stuck in a room with one exit, and I simply show them the door.
I've highlighted some quotes.
The Guardian.
"Malcolm Tucker has the physical demeanour and the political instincts "of a velociraptor.
" Yes, The Guardian, the newspaper that hates newspapers.
Telegraph The Telegr-arse.
"Tucker's writ runs through the lifeblood of Westminster "like raw alcohol, at once cleansing and corroding.
" The Times.
"If you make eye contact with Malcolm Tucker, "you have spilled his pint.
" The Spectator.
"Iago with a BlackBerry.
" I mean, you're saying these quotes are, what, misguided? The Spectator! Um No, I'm saying you're taking these out of context, you're not contextualising these.
If you were to put them into a perspective, if you were to place them into the landscape, you would see that there might be a lot of axes being ground here.
I don't see the difference between what you have just done and a leak, by the way.
The difference is that what I've just read out was not obtained illegally.
How do you know that? You don't know what confidences have been breached in order to form these opinions, for that is what they are.
So, you accept leaking as part and parcel of the political media machinery? Yes, I mean if you didn't have leaking, the newspapers would just be full of long-lense bikini shots, and adverts for sheds, and offers to buy three pairs of trousers for a tenner, etcetera.
It's just It's the way it is.
Big deal, no-one dies.
One person did die, Mr Tucker.
Would you tell us how it works? You know, you do me a favour, I do you a favour.
Yeah? And what might you expect in return? Anything.
What? Well, a Kit-Kat, you might get.
I've had a Kit-Kat, I've had, er, a-a big meal.
Could you give us an example? Um Well, yes.
I This is The Daily Mirror, and I could get drummed out of the Magic Circle for showing you this.
Anyway, this is The Daily Mirror about the Quiet Batpeople, er, policy of Mrs Nicola Murray.
I was there that day.
You can't see me cos I've been cropped out here, but this information here, I made sure that those notes were in that place, that they were available, and that the picture editor knew where to find them.
Sorry, I'm just trying to trying to get this clear.
Was Mrs Murray not the subject of huge derision as a result of this? Er, no she was a subject of huge derision before this.
But it was You were, you were trying to undermine the leader of your party? I was Would you say you were a loyal man, Mr Tucker? I'm loyal, yes.
I'm loyal to my party and I feel that Mrs Murray's policies were turning the party into I don't know if you've seen those calendars with pictures of dogs that are dressed up in They've got little dresses and hats on? She was turning my party into that, she was humiliating my party, so I thought it was absolutely vital to focus the public's attention onto that.
And yet you maintain that you had great, I don't know, what, respect for Mrs Murray as a person.
She was a great laugh occasionally.
Great dancer.
She's got terrific hair.
She did a good job at DoSAC.
A much better job than her successor, who, let's not forget, was playing on a slide when the news of Mr Tickel's death came out.
Thank you, Mr Tucker, we're well versed in the events surrounding the death of Mr Tickel.
So tell me, the PFI e-mail that led to the to the resignation of Nicola Murray.
Did you Did you engineer that? Mr Tucker? No.
No, I didn't.
And, er, the leaking of Mr Tickel's health records? I mean, do I detect your hand in that, for instance? No.
No, no, no, no, no.
Look, politics is a war, and politicians, sometimes they lose ideological limbs.
Right? They get media shrapnel right in the face.
Sometimes they get a bullet right in the brain.
Civilians know there is no way that I would ever attack a civilian, a real person, and especially not somebody with a history of mental illness.
Because that sort of thing makes me queasy.
So you're an ethical leaker? I use leaking to show up corruption, to show up hypocrisy, to show up idiocy.
And also the fourth horseman of the political apocalypse, duplicity.
For instance, Fergus Williams He's coming up next, right? Mm-hmm.
This is a guy, he's a member of the junior party in this coalition, right? This guy has already opened a private channel to Dan Miller, the Leader of the Opposition, in order to talk about possibly setting up a coalition with him, because he knows very well that this coalition government that he is lumbered with is being torn to pieces, like a bread stick at a picnic.
Mr Tucker, you have just used this inquiry to commit a leak in front of us! I've not committed a leak! Everybody in Westminster knows these talks have taken place.
You're supposed to be investigating this, discovering this stuff.
Now, you cannot not know what I or anyone else tell you.
Right? You can't not know that.
You cannot not know what you now know.
Mr Tucker, are you familiar with the rules of association football? I understand if you're going to have an affair you'd better take precautions, like getting a superinjunction.
I ask you because this is me giving you a yellow card.
You're not to use this inquiry to score political points.
Sorry, I'm I apologise.
Did you see Mr Malcolm Tucker's evidence earlier? Er, yeah, I, er, saw it out of the corner of my eye.
Do you want me to read what he said about you? No, that's fine.
That was the bit that I saw.
Embarrassing, I imagine.
Er, no, not at all.
Er, it was, er almost flattering, yeah, to get, er, to get Tuckered.
It's a right of passage in in in politics.
It happens to all of us, it's You know, it's like when you're in a Russian jail, you get your face tattooed.
Mr Tucker mentioned meetings between you and the Leader of the Opposition.
Did these take place? They did, yes.
Er, myself and Adam were part of a team who had very general, non-committal discussions with, amongst others Mr Miller.
And you discussed a potential future coalition with his party and the removal of your own party leader, is that correct? Sorry, could I possibly answer that question with another question? I mean, not THAT question I'm just asking but a further question.
Go on.
You do realise that YOU'RE being spun here? You do see that? Spun? Cos, you know Malcolm Tucker's not your common or garden spin doctor, right? No, he's the, he's the chief medical officer of spin.
He is Spinoza, you see, so he'd He had He didn't come here in order to answer your questions, he came here in order to get you to then ask HIS questions Mr Williams, I don't want you to answer with another question, I want you to answer it with an answer.
He's conducting you like, um Goldie.
Did you talk to Mr Miller about removing your party leader? Sorry, are you getting Tucker's questions sort of beamed straight into your brain? Mr Williams.
Finally, on the subject of frustration, would you say it's difficult to steer policy ideas through your department? Huh Er, yes, there are blockages.
There is one person in particular, and, well, you know, I don't want to identify her or him, if she was a man, but this particular person, er is er, rather inept, and has hampered a lot of our initiatives, and she, or her-him, is, um very difficult to remove.
And so she's a He is a They are a stubborn blockage, shall we say, like, you know, when you get hair and, um, soap in a plughole, with skin flakes.
Thank you.
Thank you, Mr Williams.
That's, that's fine.
Sorry, can I just say We are very pressed for time.
Yeah, but I really didn't want the last thing that I said, erm I'm sorry to be skin flakes.
Thank you.
When did you first become aware of Mr Tickel? When he became the only, erm, key worker to refuse our offer of alternative accommodation.
Then he sort of dropped off my radar.
The next thing I knew, he was sewing badges on his tent and shouting abuse through a loudhailer.
Did you ever feel yourself to be culpable in any way for his for his homelessness? Look, he was homeless only in the sense that he had no home.
Er No, no, a housing association flat was found, which he declined.
The POLICY didn't make him homeless.
The policy of selling off the block of flats where he lived.
He made a positive decision to be homeless.
It's the difference between being punched in the face and punching yourself in the face.
Um Well, and why do you think, to use your phrase, he punched himself in the face? Why? Well, because he was mentally, er, er Because he he had, er mental issues.
The e-mail leaked to The Guardian, which you'll find on pages 276 to 277 in the evidence, one of your advisers describes Mr Tickel as erm, "fucking Florence Shiteingale".
Do you not feel that's, er, a little callous? This is, this is rough and tumble office banter, schoolboy showers stuff, and schoolgirls' showers, er Not that I mean, not, not literally, but, er Are you familiar with the phrase "data smuggling"? Data what? Passing on data from a closed system to an unauthorised source in exchange for money.
Oh, yes, I I Well, seems everyone's at it.
Aare you at it, Mr Mannion? No, I'm I'm I'm not very good with technology.
The Papermate pen is still cutting-edge technology as far as I'm concerned.
Writes upside-down, you know! You've told the enquiry that you didn't feel at all guilty over Mr Tickel's death.
Well, I I felt bad.
B but not guilty.
I didn't kill him, I've never killed anyone.
Noted, but I mean, do you think you could've made a difference if you had been contactable that day? Why? He wasn't trying to call me.
I I'm not The Samaritans.
In fact, apparently, tonally, I have a very depressing voice.
Mr Mannion, do you know Mr Alastair Leyton, a senior executive at The Times? Yes.
Did you ring Mr Leyton on 25th April to tell him that Mr Tickel's medical records had been unlawfully obtained and that this might form the basis of an explosive news story? Did I, er, ring him on that day, do you mean? I, well, I can't remember.
Well, did you ring him on any day telling him? Look, I came into politics to make a difference, tto dare, to get things done, nnot to leak things, or or spin, or or blag, or smuggle, but to serve, with honest, hard work.
To do.
And did you DO something? Did you contact your friend at The Times? No, I I didn't do that.
Perhaps we could start by just giving us an idea of what a You know, what a special adviser does? Um, er Well, technically, essentially, we just advise a minister.
Erm, sort of, media strategies, political strategies that sort of thing.
But you're not permanent members of the Civil Service? Er, no, they're like the the worker ants.
We're more like Er, well, not the queens.
That would be, er, Peter Mannion and to a lesser extent Fergus Williams.
We're more like the solider ants that defend the queens.
Would you like to add anything, Mr Kenyon? Yes, I'm not sure that the ant analogy helps at all.
Mr Smith, how would you characterise your relationship with Mr Kenyon? Er, well, I I I think when you get two silverbacks like Adam and I in a room, there's always going to be a certain amount of chest-beating, but, erm there's a mutual respect.
Would you agree, Mr Kenyon? Yes.
What about data smuggling? Iis that something that you were aware of? Yeah, I mean of of course I was aware of it.
I think we all were Absolutely.
But I would say, I would say it was, er, it was endemic, it happens every time.
Endemic? It's commonplace.
Hospitals, er, anywhere with public information.
GPs, passport offices, you know, you name it, they've all been known to slip information for money.
Do any of you know of specific individuals who will offer this this information trade? No.
I don't, no.
Right, so just to clarify, you say that it's endemic Rife, absolutely.
But you don't know anyone who actually does it? No.
No, I mean, I could if I needed to.
I have a very wide web of contacts.
Right, but it's not contacts not contacts that you use? Er, no.
My position is, if you leak, you're weak.
If I'm going to come at you, I'm going to come at you head on man-on-man.
That's how I like it Er, politically speaking.
You yourselves were subject to a leak, weren't you, in The Guardian? How did you feel about the e-mail containing your thoughts about Mr Tickel's death? Um, it was, it was shameful and it was insensitive Absolutely and we would like to apologise for that.
It's, it's dreadful.
I agree.
I mean, their comments were absolutely unforgivable, mortifying.
"How many Mr Tickels does it take to change a lightbulb?" "He doesn't have a lightbulb, he's in a tent.
" Mmm "How do you turn Mr Tickel into Mr Happy?" "Lithium.
" "What's the difference between Mr Tickel and Captain Oates?" "Captain Oates has a less stupid name.
" And one feel that is particularly cruel, Ms Messinger, given Mmm.
Mr Tickel's mental health, erm, issues.
"The fucker's a nutbag.
" I'm s sor I I I It That is not OK.
If I could add a a a a mea culpa here, rather than-than dancing around it.
Others may choose to attempt to wriggle off the hook of, er, shame, but, um, I cannot.
I cannot deny that my name is on those e-mails, and yet I do not recognise that man.
It is me and yet it is another, and for that I am, um, truly sorry.
This has been a humbling moment in my quest to become the man I know I can be.
How did you react to the news of Mr Tickel's death? Shock.
Absolute shock.
Fell to pieces.
Awful, I mean we couldn't believe it, it was tragic Can I just refer you to Dr Tara Strachan, who I believe was in your department for a meeting at that time, and she described the atmosphere in the office as an atmosphere of elation, and you, Mr Smith, were seen to be punching the air.
Do you remember doing that? I, er I do not remember to that.
S Well, if you weren't punching the air, do you remember what you were doing? II cannot say to that.
Is it fair to say that information coming in and out of DoSAC is sticky, for want of a better word? Yes.
I would certainly agree with that to that.
If I if I may speak freely at this point, II think the reason for a lot of leaks coming out of DoSAC is that it's very hard to get information out of the official channels.
There's a kind of blockage, is there? Exactly that.
Um, and an information blockage.
Er, and it and it and it has to find its way out through other routes.
No, it is actually Terri Coverley, um who is Head of Press, in name only.
Good, yes.
It's Terri, definitely.
I, Teresa Jessica Coverley, do sincerely declare and affirm that the evidence I shall give will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Please be seated, Mrs Coverley.
Thank you very much.
Mr Hodge has some questions.
Very good to see you this morning, infamous Terri Coverley.
Why are you smiling? I'm not smiling.
Yeah, or rather I'm smiling, but it's something I do when I'm nervous, erm And you have a guilty conscience? No, no.
No, no.
No, I don't have a guilty conscience but I do have a guilty face.
Um, I I I do blush a lot and that's a circulation thing, not a moral thing, though I do ACT guilty, um When I was a child, um my brother's hamster was put into a remote control aeroplane.
Tragic consequences, and, um unfortunately I was blamed for that, though I had nothing to do with it.
It was it was that I just looked guilty, so I would ask you to bear that in mind.
Can you explain to us how communications works in government? Well, um, I use an analogy.
Erm I like to think that dealing with the press is not so much herding cats, it's more herding sheep, and I am the shepherdess, um if you like.
It's, it's In order to be an efficient shepherdess, one needs a number of things, I mean Firstly, one needs a whistle, that's my voice.
Secondly, one needs a coat, and that's my coat.
And thirdly, one needs a dog, and that, in my case, is a lady called Robyn.
How was your relationship with Nicola Murray? Professionally or personally? Professionally.
Not good.
And personally? Not good.
No, I mean she resented me, she was jealous of me, I think.
I mean, a lot of women are.
It's no secret that Well, she's a woman who has issues, er Major issues.
I felt If you want me to be truthful, I felt very sorry for her.
And your relationship with Peter Mannion? Oh Yeah, very, very, very good.
Um, yes.
Both professionally and personally.
Although of course, I I draw a you know, between the two.
But he's a lovely man to work with, to be to be with, to be close to, and Several others have referred to you as a blockage.
Perhaps they meant "buffer".
Because I am a buffer between their heads and things that want to hurt their heads.
Who, in your opinion, was responsible for the PFI e-mail being leaked? Well, it's not for me to say, and I don't want to be accused of telling tales before school But I think it was Malcolm Tucker.
Why do you think that? Erm Feminine intuition.
Feel it in my water.
Any reasons beyond your bladder? Well, Malcolm can be very, very tough.
I mean, that's no secret.
Can you give me an example? Well, he can send very forthright texts.
Would you say he was bullying? Well, I can look after myself.
I mean, I wasn't bullied at school.
I was very popular.
But if you were somebody w who who had been bullied at school, somebody who was weak or not popular, someone like Robyn, for example, yes, I think Malcolm Tucker would be very, very intimidating indeed, yes You're happy to go on record saying Malcolm was a bully? Um Malcolm is a bully? Mmm We'll need a yes or a no.
Well, yes, then.
Mr Tucker is in next.
I can't imagine he'll be very happy about that.
No, he won't.
No, he won't.
Right Well, I think we can leave it there, Mrs Coverley.
Oh, good.
Sorry, I mean, thank you.
Thank you, thank you very much Your Lordship.
We may need to call you back, as I feel there are some issues that still need clarification.
Very good, yes, of course.
Thank you for agreeing to return to us at such short notice, Mr Tucker.
It's no problem.
You only appear in front of the Goolding Inquiry twice, once on the way up and once on the way down.
Let's hope not.
Glad to see you again, Mr Tucker.
Nice to be here.
Did you watch the evidence given by Terri Coverley? Yes.
And I found her quite funny, without resulting to vulgarity.
She was very clear that she regarded you as a bully, something you denied in your first testimony.
How do you respond to that? Um, well, I respond thusly.
That's slander.
We're trying to clarify the culture of communications over which you presided.
And we have a contradiction between participants.
Well, I would say that I'm someone who lives and breathes communication, so I would lend more weight to my words, rather than to someone who is just in it for the pension.
And how is that not slander? Well, because that's true.
She wants a pension more than Richard Hammond wants a punch in the face.
You know, she sat here for an hour.
You can't have looked at her and thought this was not a person who isn't mentally unrobust? I'd like to return to the Batpeople photograph, if I may.
Why not? Yes, one of my triumphs.
You said you were cropped out of the original photo.
Sadly, yes.
But they have enlarged.
Can we show the enlargement? They've enlarged that photograph for us.
Now, could we go to the close-up of the folders that you're carrying in that photograph, there we are.
Who enlarged this? Er Was it The Guardian that did this for you? I believe so I didn't know they were offering that service.
They should do passport photos.
Thank you.
They'd double their revenue if they did passport photos a couple of times.
This is the folder that you are carrying in your hand, and you see there there's a document poking up out of the top, on the notepad.
Um, there's a series of numbers written across the top there.
Would you be able to tell us what the first two numbers are? I don't Well, they look like telephone numbers, I don't know.
Yes, they are Mr Tickel's mobile phone number and his ex-wife's landline number.
Well, there's nothing untoward about me having those.
Well, actually Mrs Tickel's phone number was ex-directory.
But let's just leave that to one side for a moment.
Very wise.
The bottom set of numbers.
Do you have any recollection as to what they might be? No.
Really? You didn't even look.
Where are we going with this? They are Mr Tickel's NHS number and his National Insurance number.
Mr Tucker.
Ffff So why would you have that? I don't, I don't recall Sorry, can I just clarify that? Are you saying you don't recall having them, or you don't recall how you obtained them? Um I don't recall having them! But it It appears to me that you have been rather careless in this instance, Mr Tucker.
Not at all.
No? You were photographed with these papers, you flaunted your ruse to puff yourself up, thereby drawing attention to this photograph, this photograph which is now implicating you in a rather troubling way.
Sorry, I didn't hear a question there.
Is there a question here? It was an observation, Mr Tucker.
It's an observation, so what are we, is this an inquiry or an observatory? It's an opticians.
You'd like a question.
Here is a question for you.
Do you have an explanation for having these numbers? Those numbers are not necessarily what you say they are.
Did you request this information? Um Because, Mr Tucker, if you didn't request the information, the only other way that it could have come to you would have been if somebody had supplied you with his NHS number, which would, of course, be illegal.
As would obtaining his health records and releasing them to the press.
Which you denied all knowledge of earlier, and you would have committed a crime.
Well, I Mr Tucker, a very serious crime.
Well, as you say, I denied it.
And, um Do you repeat that denial here? I'm not sure that you know exactly how this all works.
Mr Tucker, are you repeating that denial? Yes, I'm I I am.
I deny it.
I do deny it.
Thank you.
Of course you were, until quite recently, Leader of the Opposition.
You led your party for For two years, yes.
For 22 months and nine days.
Yes, I was rounding up.
How does it feel to lose that position so abruptly, and so publicly? Um, horrible.
It feels horrible.
I think I felt as I would feel if I were being strangled to death by somebody I trusted.
Yes, er, the press have been unkind to you over much of your recent career, haven't they? Well, when you're a high-profile politician, you expect to be in the public gaze.
Um, I would say that there's a there's a certain level of extra scrutiny that is afforded to women in the public gaze, I'm sure you would agree.
Well, you were, um, followed around for six months by a man dressed as a pork chop.
Is that the particular kind of scrutiny that, that you're saying is reserved for women? No, that was just reserved for me.
If we, um, just could turn to tab 16.
We have some articles, there's quite a few, actually.
On top of the second page here there is an exploded view of your face.
Yes, well they have, um They have magnified a picture of my top lip, er, in the hope of finding a moustache, which I do not have, I never have had a moustache, so If we, er, yes, again, if we turn to the fourth page of this tab.
"Frumpy, grumpy and dangerous to know.
" "How Nicola Murray went from gold to lead in six months.
" I mean, this is typical of, er, of many of the pieces printed about you at the time, about a year ago, wasn't it? Yes, it was.
Over 35 major articles.
I mean, I suppose the point I'd make is that we're sitting here in our ivory, um, inquiry.
And out there, in the real world, there is actual news happening.
You know, we've got the chief whip's office, you know, during the course of this morning has come under very particular scrutiny, there are funding issues, there's the justice minister crisis that's suddenly sort of spiralling out of control.
I just, I don't quite know why we're, we're focussing on my moustache.
Which I don't have.
I'm afraid both of those very recent developments may well be the subject of police investigations, so cannot be discussed in this room.
Which shows they've done the job.
Done the job? Well, it just seems to me that somebody is engineering this flurry of press reports in order to divert attention from the, er, shall we say dramatic revelations of this inquiry.
I mean, it just, it just seems like there's another story every five minutes.
And who would that somebody be? Well, um.
I Maybe we should ask Taggart! Would you care to make a specific allegation against someone? Er, no I wouldn't care to, no.
On a completely unrelated matter, Malcolm Tucker was pleased to see you go, is that a fair statement? Yes, I think that would be fair to say.
Did he engineer the leaking of the e-mail that led to your resignation? Er, well, I don't have any solid evidence that he did that.
Um Sounds like somebody else's career has just gone into the shredder! I have asked for all mobile phones to be turned completely off, please.
I'm sorry, Mrs Murray.
Yes, it is Mr Hodge.
Mrs Murray, we spoke earlier about your husband's interests in the key worker, er, housing sell off.
Yes, we spoke about his lack of interest in fact, to be precise.
Yes, well, I've no wish to retread that particular ground.
No, I've no wish to either, I mean, I really do want to make that quite clear.
I'm finding this constant reiteration of my husband's, er, innocent position to be wearing in the extreme.
Mrs Murray, may I remind you that you did ask for this inquiry to be set up.
I didn't not want an inquiry.
Well, presumably there was something that you feel that needed to be said, needed to be asked, about, er, about PFI, about leaking.
I think, er, that it's a good idea to have an inquiry every now and then.
I just think it, um Livens things up a bit.
On that subject, was it, um, Mr Tucker who persuaded you call for an inquiry into Mr Tickel's death? Er, I called for the inquiry after Mr Tucker had spoken to me.
Is there a better party happening elsewhere? I'm sorry Mrs Murray, in view of events developing outside of this room, some of which may be subject to police investigations, and consequently to re-examine the parameters of this inquiry, I think we'll leave it there for the moment, Mrs Murray.
Well, yeah, I have actually prepared a very brief statement, which I think will clarify my position on I'm afraid we don't have the time for that.
It is very brief.
Um, I think it was Gandhi who once said that an honest man is a gift from God and a gift to I'm sure a written submission will suffice.
Thank you so much.
I'm now going to adjourn for a short period.
Fuck's sake.
Please be seated.
Thank you for your attendance, Ms Murdoch.
Um, Mr Weir has some questions.
If I can turn to you, Ms Murdoch.
How would you describe your relationship with Ms Coverley? Do you, do you get on well with her, with her? No.
Can you, um Can you expand on that for us a little? No.
I do not get on with her.
Um, we do not get on.
I think we do! There may have been times when we do get on, and have got on.
Um, I do not recall to that.
Thank you.
Ms Coverley, you compared Ms Murdoch to a dog and described her as weak in our last interview.
Yeah, er, I like, I like weak dogs, I have, I have one myself, so Would you say that there is a culture of bullying within DoSAC? If I could ask you first, Ms Murdoch.
Um, I'd say there was a culture of bullying ME at DoSAC.
You've experienced bullying there? Well, you know, I, I see them all standing around, you know, chattering like squirrels on Red Bull.
When I ask them what they're talking about, they usually bark a tea order at me.
Or, you know, or call me, er, the blonde bombshite, if I can use that word, or some other horrible sweary thing.
That's the form that the bullying takes? And if you refuse to make your boss's tea, you know, they, they call you Mariella Shitstrop.
Or Flouncy Sinatra, which, which doesn't even really work! And can I ask you both about the leaked Guardian e-mail? Oh, yes! Ask anything you like, I don't know anything about that bit.
Yeah, thank you, Robyn.
The e-mail was leaked from my computer, which is proof that it was not me that sent it, um, people do not leak from their own computers, that's not how it's done.
How is it done then, Mrs Coverley? I don't know.
Well, you've just said something that implies you do know how it's done.
I don't know.
How do you know, then, that leaking is done from other people's computers? Do you learn this from a leakers' charter? Is it perhaps put up on a staff notice board? Mr Glenn Cullen informed me.
He, er, he told me that if leaking is done, it's done from other computers.
Glenn Cullen.
Yeah, I'm not saying anything about Glenn Cullen himself, you understand.
You know, he is a very, very trustworthy individual.
Borderline priest.
No, Terri's right.
I heard it was Glenn who did it.
No, I did not say that Glenn Cullen did it.
No, I, when I, I meant that Glenn told you, not that, that I meant that Glenn did it.
To return for the moment to the subject of bullying, where did Malcolm Tucker stand in all this? The department's a horrible place, and when Malcolm was there he was part of that, you know, he was the big bully.
The other people are horribly rude, and the rudeness is unnecessary, but, you know, I don't get any sense that they've, they've got a big plan or anything.
You know, to be honest, I think they're just trying to get through the day without cocking up, and drink as many hot drinks as possible in the process.
Moving on, do you know anything about Malcolm Tucker's involvement with data smuggling? Specifically private NHS details.
I think Er, no, no, I'm afraid we don't.
I don't.
Um, would it be possible for me to revise my, the opinion that I gave of Malcolm Tucker on my first appearance? Your Lordship? Yes? You may revise it, but of course it will stay on the record.
OK, um, well, I just wanted to make it absolutely clear that having thought about it in the grand scheme of things, I don't think it is fair to say that Malcolm is a bully or he's brutal.
Certainly not when you compare him to some of his fellow countrymen.
Well, I think Malcolm's really difficult, and you do too, Terri.
Don't know why you're being so coy.
It's not like he'll do a you know.
A you know? What's, what's this? You know, that story about you in the papers.
A story involving me in the newspapers is not the subject of this investigation, so we are not going to discuss it any further.
Now, er, Miss Murdoch, what about the use of data smuggling, er, within government? Do you know anything about that? Yeah, loads.
Um, there are dodgy people in the NHS and the benefits office who talk to investigators all the time.
Do you have experience of this? Yeah, I've been on the receiving end of it.
I didn't know that the notes your GP makes are available to your local pharmacist.
I went to see my mother's doctor about her alcohol problem, which is a private family matter.
Next thing I knew, it's all round the village.
And now it's all round the world.
She's saying that that's your fault.
How? Oh.
As you can see, Baroness Sureka is not with us and will remain absent while she deals with the personal allegations published in the Sunday Times.
This in no way invalidates the inquiry, nor does it compromise the integrity of any questioning conducted by Baroness Sureka.
Mr Hodge.
Thank you.
Er, Oliver Reeder, you were a senior advisor to Nicola Murray during her time as Secretary of State at DoSAC.
I was, er, the senior advisor.
Good, and when Ms Murray became Leader of the Opposition, er, you were also one of her senior advisors? Yeah.
Again, the, the senior advisor, yeah.
I see, and now you're a senior advisor to Mr Dan Miller? Yeah, yeah, slight, a slightly less pivotal role with, with Dan, but part of a, kind of, larger pivot, really.
Mm-hmm, thank you.
Er, well, Mr Reeder, they say that in politics knowledge is power.
True, yes, although that doesn't mean that Carol Vorderman should be Prime Minister! Or should I say Stephen Fry, cos Carol's just maths, but yeah.
You've known Malcolm Tucker for, for some years now.
Yes, I have, yes.
He seems like a, an intimidating person.
Is he? Er, well, I mean not, not to me.
No? No, er, no, er, no, although he doesn't, he doesn't suffer fools gladly, I think that's fair to say, or, um, or clever people, to be honest.
So he's never, er, bullied you? Well, do I, do I look like I could be bullied by Mr Tucker? I could No.
Could you turn to tab nine? You'll find it in your, in your folder there, yeah.
Um, we have some, er, some quotes here.
Some evidence from several civil servants who, who all independently suggest that Mr Tucker, in fact, regularly did bully you.
"Mr Tucker threatened to remove Mr Reeder's appendix, "throw away Mr Reeder, "and appoint the useless flap of colon as special advisor.
" Yeah.
Um Well that's, yes! That's banter.
"Mr Tucker told Mr Reeder that he would have him smothered, "eviscerated, stuff, fitted with wheels, and donated to an orphanage.
" That's, what cos this is out of context, what you don't have there is my reply.
And so, you know, it's just him.
And what was that? Er, well, I don't remember what it was on this occasion.
It would have been, but it would have been a, you know, kkk! It would have been a zinger, because I gave as good as I got, so it's not bullying.
Very good.
Is there anything about the leaking of the so-called PFI e-mail that you feel that this inquiry should, should be aware of? Oh, God, um I mean, um I mean, to be brutally frank, I'm, I'm struggling to remember here, but Well, please take your time.
There's no hurry.
Of course, yeah, I mean I think, you know, what, what you have to remember, in this instance, is that on the day that all of that stuff took place, um, I was in hospital.
So I'm, you know, I'm cut off, essentially, I didn't have a phone.
But I mean, I hadn't mentioned, er, the use of a phone, I mean Yes, no, I know, I'm simply saying I was You weren't working remotely from the hospital? No, no, not remotely, um, er, in, in either sense.
Did you have any visitors? Erm You must be able to remember that.
Well, if you're not completely sure, Mr Reeder, you can always check with the visitors' records.
Well, don't, let's not do that, um, let's not do that for the moment, let me just, if, just give, bear with me, er, but I did, yes, I think I was visited by colleagues from the office.
Can you give us a name? Er, Malcolm is, um, is his name, Malcolm's name, Malcolm, Malcolm Tucker visited me.
I'm assuming this wasn't a social visit, what did, er, what did he, what did Mr Tucker want? He wanted to, he, I mean, what, what, OK.
I mean, I'm really, I'm, I'm anxious, I'm keen, I'm trying my best to answer your, er, questions truthfully I should remind you you are under oath, Mr Absolutely, yes, I'm under oath, so this is but, but, er What you have to understand is, everybody has something on everyone here, right? So in this circumstance, if you inadvertently say or do something, um, er, you know, you shouldn't, then that's it, that's it, that's it, it's done, your career is done.
You know, look what happened to a member of this inquiry, right? So you have to This is not the place to discuss those allegations.
No, of course.
Mr Reeder, if you feel Yeah.
You feel under pressure, am I right? Is that because of something that you know? Yes, no, er, general pressure, I feel under a, a sort of, just that, it's the jitters of work.
Who leaked the e-mail, Mr Reeder? Glenn, er, Cullen.
Er, he was in DoSAC at the time, and he, er, still had access to the e-mail, and he hated his life, he, he, you know, he hated Nicola Murray because she'd previously destroyed his chances of standing as an MP.
Most helpful, Glenn Cullen is our next witness.
Most interesting, thank you.
Oh, well, OK.
That's fine, thank you.
Mr Cullen.
I wonder if I could start by taking you back to that time two years ago.
You left Nicola Murray, and you went to work for Fergus Williams.
Yes, yes I did, that's right.
And you found yourself in a coalition with the very party that you opposed.
That must have been extremely distressing.
Er, no, not at all, as a matter of fact.
I was very invigorated by the idea of, er, trying to forge a new way in politics.
Mm-hmm, so all was rosy? Well, um, can't think of any negatives.
No friction? No, the only F word was fun.
Thank you, Mr Cullen.
Mr Cullen.
Would you say there's a culture of leaking in the government? Yes, I would.
Yes, leaking and lying.
To your knowledge have any of your colleagues lied to this inquiry? Well, I mean, that's a bit like asking, you know, um, does a cow drink milk? Does it? Probably.
But what I meant to say was, er, yes, um, my colleagues lie constantly, it's a professional necessity.
Have you ever leaked, Mr Cullen? First of all, may I just say, er, welcome back, Baroness Sureka, big hugs, I'm sure I speak to everyone here when I say that we're all thinking of you, er, and, er, you have been I'd rather you, um, swapped the ham-fisted flattery for actually answering my question, which was have you ever leaked? Right.
No, it's a very simple question and it's got a very simple answer.
No, I haven't.
Um, you'll be aware of Ollie Reeder's testimony to the inquiry where he said that you were, in fact, responsible for the PFI leak.
Yes, I am.
But, no, which means to say I am aware of, of that.
But, gosh, you've got to be careful what you say here, haven't you? You certainly do, Mr Cullen.
Let's hope we're up to it.
Is there any truth at all in Mr Reeder's accusations? Absolutely none whatsoever.
He's talking out of his out of his other cheeks, if you Why would Oliver Reeder suggest that you were behind the PFI e-mail leak, then? I've absolutely no idea.
It's very difficult for me to get into the mindset of somebody so entirely self-serving and, um, spiritually ugly.
I mean, anyone who's been unfortunate enough to have come across Ollie Reeder will know that he is a genuinely atrocious person.
Do you believe Mr Reeder was trying to cover himself in that case? Well, I do believe he has the emotional tools for the task.
Yes, certainly.
Do you believe that Ollie Reeder was behind the leak? No.
You see A leak of this magnitude would require one essential item that Ollie lacks.
And that's a spine.
He is a man without a spine, he is a man worm, he's a writhing mollusc without any strategies or convictions, he simply slimes his way into the nearest crack every night, and I would like to put on record that I apologise to this committee for being the man who brought him into the world of politics.
The whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Thank you for returning to this inquiry, Mr Tucker.
That's no problem, no.
I had a hair appointment, but I think they can fit me in next week.
There's no need to be so flippant about this inquiry.
Well, it's just, you know, you keep asking me the same questions, I can't really help it if you don't like the answers.
Maybe you could try a little harder in answering.
I'm amazed you've stayed at the top of politics for, for quite so long with such apparently poor powers of recall.
Maybe it's my age.
It's good to see you back.
Thank you.
Nice to see you too.
At your last appearance at this inquiry, you admitted that you have leaked.
Is that correct? Well, everyone leaks.
Many, many people who appeared here in front of you, er, have leaked, but they've just lied about it to you.
Mr Tucker, that's an incredibly serious charge, do you have any evidence to substantiate that allegation? Well, you will forgive me if I don't do your job for you.
Because if you can't spot a sprayed-on halo while someone doing a, you know, "What me, guv?" panto act, maybe you shouldn't be sitting behind that desk.
At your last appearance we asked you very specifically how you came by Mr Tickel's NHS number and National Insurance number, and you could not recall.
Have you had any more time to think about it? Yes, I have.
And could you tell us any more? No.
You've got no recollection at all? No.
By the way, you should not be talking to me about this, because you've been a victim of a leaking, a very unfortunate victim, and I have every sympathy with you.
How can you possibly give me a fair hearing when you've been a victim of the very crime that you are accusing me of? You are prejudiced, this entire inquiry, therefore, is prejudiced.
I can see what you're doing.
It smacks of desperation and it will not work.
Does it? No, listen, there you go again, see that's it, you're just rushing to judgment.
You are totally discredited here.
I am obliged to remind you, Mr Tucker, that you are under oath, and if you lie to this inquiry, it may result in a criminal prosecution.
Sorry, please don't insult my intelligence by acting as if you're all so naive that you don't know how this all works.
Everybody in this room has bent the rules to get in here, because you don't get in this room without bending the rules, you don't get to where you are without bending the rules, that's the way it is.
Mr Tucker, I'm going to give you one more chance to respond to my question.
How did you acquire Mr Tickel's NHS number and his National Insurance number? Who said I acquired it? A photograph.
No, no, the photograph shows me holding it.
Doesn't show me acquiring it.
You'd have to ask the person that gave me the folder.
Who gave you the folder? I don't remember.
You are being deliberately evasive.
I I don't recall, you know.
I don't, I don't know, I can't remember.
Very well.
Regardless of how you came by Mr Tickel's mental health records, did you then leak them to the media? I can't recall.
So that's not a denial? Je ne remember rien.
Well, if you can't recall, it leaves open the possibility that you did leak them.
Let me tell you this.
The whole planet's leaking, everybody is leaking.
You know, everyone's spewing out their guts onto the internet.
Putting up their, their relationship status, and, er, photos of their vajazzles.
We've come to a point where there are people, millions of people, who are quite happy to trade a kidney in order to go on television.
And to show people their knickers, to show people their skid marks, and then complain to OK Magazine about a breach of privacy.
The exchange of private information, that is what drives our economy.
But you come after me because you can't, you can't arrest a land mass, can you? You can't, you can't cuff a country.
You might as well just go and go, you can't lynch that guy there, can you? But you decide that you can sit there, you can judge, and you can ogle me like a Page Three girl.
You don't like it? Well, you don't like yourself.
You don't like your species, and you know what? Neither do I, but how dare you come and lay this at my door.
How dare you blame me for this.
Which is the result of a political class which has given up on morality.
And simply pursues popularity at all costs.
I am you, and you are me.
Are you finished? Ah, I'm finished anyway.
You didn't finish me.
Would you like to stand down? Thanks.
Are you not the human router? The human router, yes.
But I think you'll find that leaking is very much a 3G business.
You know? It's, it's off the house wi-fi grid.
I assume you're referring to the leaking of Mr Tickel's medical records, and I would like to say, I find that disgraceful, and I would like that on the record.
Everything we say here is on the record, Mr Williams, that's how this works.
Well, that's great.
When I was a journalist, OK, when I, when I was a journalist at the Mail, I used leaks.
Now I'm in government, I do not leak.
Wayne Rooney, for example, he used to score goals for Everton.
And now he plays for, for Manchester United.
Now, nobody expects him to score goals for Everton any more, do they? I mean, if he did that, United would give him the sack.
Although you did previously describe yourself as a shepherdess.
Now, did you have something to add to that? I just, shepherdess, did she say, did you say shepherdess? Yes, I was, I was giving an analogy, I mean to be, to be fair, Perhaps it would be more accurate to describe myself as a sheep in shepherdess's clothing.
Do you follow? Err, no, not, not, er, completely.
The shepherdess analogy is flawed anyway.
Malcolm Tucker is very much a political Flintstone.
You know.
He carved his press releases into stone tablets.
He uses a bird's beak to play his Happy Monday vinyls.
He leaks.

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