Following Damian McBride's resignation late this afternoon, a Downing Street spokesman made the following statement:
is the Prime Minister's view that there is no place in politics for the
dissemination or publication of material of this kind, which is why it
is right that Mr McBride and Mr Draper took the decision not to publish
this material and regrettable that others are choosing to do so."
But as far as Chris Grayling – shadow home secretary and the senior Conservative attack dog – is concerned, the matter is far from over. He immediately issued a statement in which he demanded an explanation of events from Gordon Brown:
whole episode has been quite disgraceful. This resignation is a clear
admission that Gordon Brown's team at Number 10 were involved in a
deliberate attempt to spread unpleasant false rumours about opposition
politicians. Gordon Brown needs to provide a clear explanation about what happened and who else was involved."
Appearing on Sky News a short while ago, Mr Grayling reiterated these points, demanding a "proper investigation" and a "full and proper explanation" from the Prime Minister as to who else in Downing Street was involved and who else knew about the emails.
He added that he regarded the above Downing Street statement as "dismissive" and that the affair was more serious than a storm in a teacup, involving as it did a "structured attempt" to put out scurrilous rumours about Opposition politicians coming from "the heart of Gordon Brown's communications centre".
Meanwhile, the News of the World has confirmed that it will tomorrow reveal the "sensational" details contained in Damian McBride's emails and show that the plan to smear a number of senior Tories was "far more sophisticated than McBride or Draper have claimed and was close to completion."
According to the News of the World, the emails "show McBride and Draper schemed to spread false malicious stories that:
- Opposition leader David Cameron had an embarrassing illness
- Shadow Chancellor George Osborne's wife was "emotionally fragile" just because she appeared upset at parties
- A Tory MP used his position to get publicity for lover’s business
- Involved allegations about female Tory MP Nadine Dorries and another named MP."