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Proof surfaces to show dirty tricks website did involve senior UK Labour party leaders.

Byline: ANI

London, Apr.19 (ANI): A new e-mail shows that Labour's General Secretary Ray Collins chaired a secret meeting to create the Red Rag website now ensnared in the Smear Gate scandal.

The e-mail's existence links the dirty tricks site to the very top of the Labour Party, and it exposes the lie put out by Downing Street, and repeated by government ministers this week, that the smears were just a minor aberration cooked up by a couple of renegades acting alone-and which would never have seen light of day.

According to News of the World, the new e-mail, written by Labour's then Internet campaign chief Derek Draper, proves that the meeting took place. It shows that Collins travelled across Westminster for a summit in the offices of trade union bigwig Charlie Whelan. Whelan, one of Gordon Brown's closest friends and his former chief spin doctor, was described last night by a Labour insider as the Prime Minister's "unofficial Mr. Fix-It".

Joining Collins and Whelan at the meeting were the two men whose leaked smear e-mails later brought the scandal to light: Damian McBride and Draper.

McBride, another of the Prime Minister's closest aides, was forced to resign last week after it emerged that he and Draper conspired to spread false and sinister stories about Tory leader David Cameron, Shadow Chancellor George Osborne and other Tories.

Draper has since been cold-shouldered by the party, too.

Also in the room was the man who was to be the public face of Red Rag, Unite press officer Andrew Dodgshon, as well as political journalist Kevin Maguire, who was there in a private capacity.

News of the meeting, and the presence at it of the Labour Party's General Secretary, will horrify and appall senior party workers and Labour MPs who have already been disgusted by the smear campaign.

The e-mail reveals the meeting took place on December 1 last year at Unite's London HQ, on King's Street, Westminster, seven weeks before McBride sent an explosive e-mail to Draper outlining "stories" for the site. (ANI)

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Publication:Asian News International
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 19, 2009
Words:359
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