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It has now been 24 hours since shadow home secretary Chris Grayling first demanded an explanation from Gordon Brown about the McBride affair, which became a fully-blown demand for an apology once the extent of the content of the emails was known.

Shadow foreign secretary William Hague has now weighed in, reiterating the call for an apology from Brown an a full inquiry, and wanting a promise that Damian McBride will not be allowed to return in a similar post in the future..

He told Sky News:

"We need a thorough investigation
into exactly who knew what and whether there was a systematic attempt to
smear the opposition."

Through his spokesman, David Cameron – said to be "absolutely furious" – has also echoed those sentiments.

And yet there is still silence from Downing Street.

How long before Gordon Brown is forced to issue a statement and/or face a camera to apologise and give that explanation?

Meanwhile, Harwich MP Douglas Carswell is on the case of Tom Watson, the Cabinet Office minister who was said to have been copied in on some of the emails. Mr Carswell wants to know from Watson the extent of his knowledge of the project McBride was working on and whether he at any stage sought to discourage him from pursuing it.

Mr Watson is, of course, Minister for the Civil Service and ought to have been well-versed in precisely what Mr McBride should and shouldn't have been doing.

Update:

According to the BBC:

Mr Watson said he had known nothing of the "completely
inappropriate" messages and had no involvement in discussions to create
the Red Rag site.


"The first I was aware of the e-mail conversation that led to Damian
McBride's resignation was when these were made known to Downing Street
by national newspapers who had been given them by Paul Staines," he
said.

Jonathan Isaby

32 comments for: Pressure builds on Brown to apologise for the McBride affair – and just what did Tom Watson know about it?

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