Lots of feedback from Tory HQ on the Hancock email saga. The incident is clearly legendary in CCHQ. Here are some more titbits:
– The email Hancock turned away included much more than just the plans to lift inheritance tax. It covered every single announcement planned at the party’s annual conference. Mike Hancock could have scuppered the whole thing.
– There was a Thick of It moment when a senior Tory found out what had happened. The Malcolm Tucker style tirade, directed at an innocent CCHQ computer, consisted of a long, loud, creative riff on the same four letter word.
– The Hancock fiasco triggered a Tory security crackdown. Matt Hancock now uses an email address at Conservatives.com. All internal party documents are now protected with several passwords.
– Some still doubt that Mike Hancock knew what he was handling. The email was sent during the Liberal Democrat conference so he was probably outside Westminster. The return email was sent by a member of his staff, which could suggest he never saw it. The saintly Hancock says he was well aware of what he was doing.
– Many Tories think Mike Hancock effectively saved them from a fourth successive election defeat. A leak would have devastated their conference and likely triggered an election in the worst possible circumstances.
– It reminds Jim of the fantastic story of the two New York Times reporters who were tipped off about Watergate but never followed up the lead.