Telegraph confirm the emails exist. Now David Cameron can review them.

I have just received an emailed letter from the Telegraph.

The first says:

Tom Watson

House of Commons

London

SW1A 0AA

& by email to: tom.watson.mp@parliament.uk

18 February 2015

Dear Mr Watson

Further to your blog post this morning, it does not appear to reflect our letter of 29 January 2015, which was only sent by post. I attach a copy of the 29 January letter.

I trust you will update your blog post accordingly.

Yours sincerely

Ben Clissitt
Executive Editor

The second says:

Tom Watson

House of Commons

London

SW1A 0AA

& by email to: tom.watson.mp@parliament.uk

29 January 2015

Dear Mr Watson

Thank you for your recent letter to Ian MacGregor, which he has passed to me.

For your records, Ian MacGregor is the editor of the Sunday Telegraph with executive responsibility for our leisure sections.

By way of background, Telegraph Media Group has internal protocols and guidelines for passing information to the police. This has been followed on several occasions in recent months and years — for example, during our investigation into MPs’ expenses and in cases involving alleged abuse.

To the best of my knowledge, we have received no correspondence involving any current members of Parliament which would be relevant to any criminal investigation.

As a national newspaper, we receive thousands of pieces of correspondence every year making allegations, or passing comment, on members of Parliament and others in positions of authority. This is clearly part of a healthy democracy and the operation of a functioning newspaper well known for our investigative work. People who contact newspapers with such information do so with an expectation of privacy. Therefore, we see no reason or public interest in passing such correspondence to Members of Parliament.

Your letter also refers to Matthew Holehouse and emails he allegedly received from CCHQ. I understand this is a reference to a conversation he had over lunch with Chris Bryant MP which seems to have been rather over-interpreted.

I believe it refers to correspondence involving senior Labour figures and the Paedophile Information Exchange. The links between Harriet Harman, Jack Dromey and this “organisation” were obviously widely aired in the public last year. They remain a matter of great public interest, and far from being a “smear” as you suggest raise serious questions which have yet to be fully answered by the Labour Party.

I trust this is of assistance.

Yours sincerely

Ben Clissitt
Executive Editor

The second letter also says “by email ” even though the first letter says it was only sent by post. I haven’t seen either. I’ve checked with my staff in both Westminster and West Bromwich and they haven’t seen an email nor have they received a copy in the post.

Despite the confusion, there is progress.

You will see that Mr Clissitt confirms that the emails do exist which flatly contradicts the denial by Grant Shapps.

He claims the email exchanges that were inadvertently copied in to a Telegraph journalist relate to Harriet Harman and Jack Dromey and historic stories involving the Paedophile Information Exchange.

David Cameron, to his credit, has always attacked advisers who spread untruths about their opponents. Now that the Telegraph editor has confirmed the emails exist, he will be able to review their content for himself. If the emails have been deleted at CCHQ, I’m sure the Telegraph will return them to David Cameron — so that he can make up his own mind whether they should be shared with the police or the people mentioned in the exchanges.

I have also spoken to Chris Bryant. His recollection of the conversation with Matthew Holehouse is that the allegations related to a number of senior figures. Indeed he says Mr Holehouse appeared to suggest there were so many that he re-assured Chris his name wasn’t one of them contained within the exchanges!

Will we ever get to the bottom of this? I doubt it.

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