Guido Fawkes I suggest you keep a close eye on Guido Fawkes' blog this weekend.  Guido alleges that a Downing Street operation, co-ordinated by Damian McBride – the Prime Minister's political and press adviser – has attempted to smear Conservative MPs, including George Osborne (and possibly David Cameron himself).  Iain Dale describes the operation as "Nixonian".  In a pre-emptive rebuttal Downing Street is trying to suggest that only McBride was involved.  A spokesman for Number 10 told the BBC:

"Neither the prime minister nor anybody else in Downing Street, except the author, knew anything about any of these private emails. The author of these emails has apologised for their juvenile and inappropriate nature and for the embarrassment caused. All staff will be reminded of the appropriate use of Number 10 resources."

Not so says Guido.  He blogs that a "government minister" was also involved and, of course, LabourList's Derek Draper.  It is all completely believable.  For years the team around Gordon Brown briefed heavily against Tony Blair.  That Downing Street is still pursuing the politics of character assassination is all too plausible.  If the Sunday newspapers reveal the full nature of the "juvenile and inappropriate" emails from within Downing Street it is difficult to see the key players keeping their jobs.

Tim Montgomerie