I was on Sky News again last night to preview the newspapers. My fellow previewer was Alan Duncan. Whilst we were waiting to go on the show we started talking about Melissa Kite’s speculative Sunday Telegraph story about a shadow cabinet reshuffle. The story talked about demotions for William Hague and Liam Fox. Alan Duncan was very unimpressed. He called it “shoddy journalism" which showed "very poor judgment". "If she really thinks this is authoritative then I doubt she will soon either enjoy much respect or access,” he concluded in a quotation that he authorised me to publish.
The Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry wasn’t the only senior Tory angered by the story. Another Conservative frontbencher who contacted ConservativeHome dismissed the story as "complete rubbish" and continued: "Why does Patience Wheatcroft [Sunday Telegraph Editor] allow this nonsense to be published?" Melissa Kite did not have the range of contacts within the Conservative Party to establish the truth of stories fed to her by people with axes to grind, my source told me.
Earlier this year Melissa Kite attempted to derail the launch of the social justice policy group with a spurious story about Iain Duncan Smith’s view of gay parenting. I suggest future Kite stories are consumed with a healthy dose of salt.