Anne Milton cried ‘stalker’ and later denied it: here’s the evidence
Recently, some Tories have been producing doctored evidence to support an ongoing smear campaign against me while others have been demanding I produce evidence to support my contention that there is an ongoing smear campaign against me involving some Tories.
Putting the asburdity of this situation aside for moment, there’s a lot of evidence involving many people in a long and complicated saga, so I asked the latter Tory what* they wanted me to prove. The nearest I could get to a straight answer was an objection to this letter to Steve Hilton. No specific point was raised; they chose instead to challenge the whole letter.
This same person claims to be a member of a government communications team, and this claim seem plausible. What doesn’t seem plausible is that they would refuse to report it to their superiors because they haven’t seen enough evidence to date to warrant this effort.
I aim to make this point today by reiterating a key claim from that letter to Steve Hilton and presenting the relevant supporting evidence:
Anne Milton recently denied saying anything that may have even given people the impression that I had harassed or stalked her in any way, but I can prove this to be a lie. – (source)
This is from an email exchange with James Clayton from Anne Milton’s office from January 2010. Previous to this, I had made it clear to Milton that the specific accusation that I had stalked her had been published alongside my home address:
“Anne asked me to let you know that she doesn’t have a ‘stance’ on you. She also said she isn’t responsible for things other people say about you.” – James Clayton, Office of Anne Milton MP
I took this to mean that Anne Milton does not regard herself to have been stalked in any way, and has not said or done anything that she would regard to be a reason for anyone come to that conclusion and/or make that accusation on her behalf, and the wider correspondence supports that this was indeed her contention at the time.
However, I can prove that Anne Milton did make this specific accusation herself and she is responsible for some things other people say about me when they go on to repeat an accusation like this… like Sandra Howard did on the Conservatives’ own website in 2005:
“In Guildford our candidate, Anne Milton and Michael stand on the flower market steps and tell the large gathered crowd they are ready to shoulder it. Michael wants to better people’s lives and he knows how to do it. The jeers of a few vocal protesters are drowned by the cheering. It’s a rousing reception. One deeply unpleasant man near me, called Anne a “Dipstick”; she says he’s been stalking her on his website as well. .” – Sandra Howard (source)
Note the ‘as well’, which implies that my presence at the event amounts to stalking. I was there at a public event to photograph people who were there to have their photograph taken. According to the logic of the people who did not want me to reveal what a charade their campaign was, this was an arrestable offence.
In fact, some Tories claim that police subsequently took an interest:
“He has harangued the MP for Croydon**, Anne Milton, to the point where she had to involve the police.” – Nadine Dorries (source)
But this claim by Dorries is a lie if not a gross distortion; the police got involved when they looked into the conduct of Milton’s activists (latest/background). At no stage was my conduct under question… unless you count the anonymous comments consistently traced back to Mike Chambers and/or Dennis Paul that later started appearing on Iain Dale’s website (shortly before he started repeating the accusation of stalking as if it were fact).
Dorries also claimed the following:
“I have had to report him to The Met police on two occassions… You can speak to a number of MPs including Anne Milton, including Patrick Mercer, and others MPs who have the same issues with him… all of (these) other MPs have also reported him to police.” – Nadine Dorries (source)
Did Anne Milton report me to police as Nadine Dorries claims? The accusation is being made in her name and Dorries is using her as a named source to back up her accusations… do I really need evidence that Milton made this specific allegation herself if I’m to expect her to take an interest?
I would argue not, but I’ve produced that evidence anyway; Anne Milton herself is the earliest known source of any claim that I stalked that woman and, through Sandra Howard***, her claim was subsequently broadcast on the Conservatives.com website
Anne Milton needs to either (a) deny making the allegation, (b) support the allegation with evidence, or (c) withdraw the allegation and take immediate steps to address the smear campaign she has (perhaps unwittingly) involved herself in.
Until then, her silence is evidence of her complicity.
Actually, make that ‘further evidence’ of her complicity.
Anne Milton has known about all of this for months now and yet has repeatedly engaged herself in the deceit that it is none of her concern… even after she has been informed of Sandra Howard’s testimony.
The following is a series of questions that Anne Milton has so far only sought to address by (finally) making good on my DPA request to her office:
from: Tim Ireland
to: Anne Milton
date: Thu, Sep 23, 2010 at 10:12 AM
1. Your recent denials about accusing me of stalking are contradicted by the published testimony of Sandra Howard who said in 2005 of my attendance at a public event in the local High St; “(Anne Milton) says he’s been stalking her on his website as well”. Who else did you share this quite specific and wholly unjustified accusation with? Do you deny sharing it with Iain Dale, for example?
2. I talked to your son on the day of that same public event. He approached me and accused me of using ringers in reviews of my books on Amazon (ie as a counter-accusation to your use of ringers in your campaign literature). His conclusions were all wrong, but he could not have arrived at them without subjecting me to the same level of scrutiny that you described as ‘stalking’ when it was aimed at you. Do you think your son stalked me? Do you think it would be fair if I described this as your son stalking me?
3. Did you ever file a police report complaining about my stalking you? If not, on what basis do you justify your use of the word ‘stalking’ (or do you regret your use of what amounts to extraordinary hyperbole)? If the latter is the case, given you are wholly aware of the conduct of Wightman and others, do you think it’s appropriate for a cabinet minister to tolerate if not rely on vigilante action by party/campaign supporters (if not donors), including the dissemination and publication of my home address alongside the accusation that I stalked you specifically?
4. Do you recognise the role played by Dennis Paul and/or Mike Chambers in the publication of intimate details and false claims about my work and family life? If so, why didn’t you describe/condemn this as ‘stalking’? If you do not recognise the role they played in the publication/promotion of the relevant site, why not?
5. What explanation can you give for not complying with my DPA request for over 150 days, and what reason can you give for not complying with the aspects of my FOI request that do not involve constituents beyond myself and my immediate family? (I assume you will not be complying with the FOI request. If you’d care to comply as a sign of good faith, I’d be delighted to be proved wrong.)
6. What explanation can you give for my DPA/FOI request being viewed by someone in the office of the Guildford Conservative Association? What business is it of theirs?
7. Mike Chambers claims than an internal investigation took place into the anonymous sites smearing myself and [named snipped]. Is what Chamber claims true? Was an internal investigation conducted?
8. If it is true, who conducted the investigation and why do you think the current Chairman (Andrew Colborne-Baber) might be having difficulty locating the relevant paperwork?
9. If an internal investigation took place, why was I not advised of its outcome?
10. Do you have any comment on the police being under the false impression at the time that a key witness in this matter, [name snipped], did not exist?
11. Do you have any comment on the claim by Mike Chambers that, following accusations by Dennis Paul, you and Jonathon Lord believed me to be a computer criminal (ie what he described as a ‘hacker’, and creator/propagator of computer viruses)? If true, what evidence were you basing this on, and how did this influence your thinking at the time?
12. Finally, do you have any comment on the practice of representatives making unannounced visits to the homes of people who wrote letters to the Surrey Ad that were critical of you and your 2005 campaign and included details of their address?
You may note that some of the later questions have also been answered in part by Jonathan Lord’s ‘off the record’ response to similar questions; there wasn’t anything approaching the kind of investigation that Mike Chambers described when speaking in his defence… which is something else that Anne Milton and David Cameron need to address. Both of them referred the matter of anonymous smear sites to Jonathan Lord for action… and he took none.
The next round of evidence will deal (again) with this point and reveal the name of another senior Tory who turned a blind eye to the antics of Milton’s supporters/activists.
Then perhaps we can turn to the subject of how correspondence between those supporters/activists and Sue Doughty wound up in the possession of Dominic Wightman (see: doctored evidence) and what further statement Anne Milton might wish to make about her relationship with this man.
(Anne Milton’s staff requested 24 hours to respond to the first draft of this article. 24 hours passed, and no response came. )
[*Psst! At one stage this anonymous Tory chap portrayed my accusation(s) as the allegation of a government conspiracy against me (i.e. as if they challenged me to prove that), but the way I see it (and will have repeatedly tried to put it) it goes as high as some people IN government, but this is far more likely to be an broadly connected series of selfish bastards looking out for their own interests, and basically behaving according to type. I have not alleged or implied - as Iain Dale has, for example - that there is a Downing Street authored document detailing a plan to 'get' me. It's a straw man.]
[**Anne Milton is the MP for Guildford, not Croydon.]
[*** Rachel Whetstone (see: the letter to her husband, Steve Hilton) was the former chief of staff for Michael Howard at the time. She would've cleared this text for publication if she were doing her job properly.]