Yesterday Associated Newspaper, publishers of the Mail on Sunday, issued an apology to Tom Watson MP and paid damages over an article written by me which they published on 12 April about the Damian McBride emails. You can read the full statement on Tom's blog HERE.
I apologised to Tom at the time, and explained how the Mail on Sunday came to print a paragraph of the article which I had asked them to delete.
In the original text submitted to the Mail on Sunday I alleged that Tom had been copied in on the Damian McBride emails. I did so because I was told that by a senior Labour source that this was the case. I also published it on my blog in THIS post at 5.45 on the evening of 11 April. At 6.20pm I received a call from Guido Fawkes who told me that Tom Watson had not in fact been cc'd on the emails he had seen, although he was referred to. I immediately reworded the blogpost and wrote a replacement paragraph for the Mail on Sunday column, which was sent to them at 6.30pm. In retrospect, instead of amending the blogpost I should have written an Update at the bottom. However, I needed to get the Mail on Sunday piece corrected. Unfortunately, despite me sending it in what I assumed to be good time, the change wasn’t made so the wrong paragraph was printed. This was cockup, not conspiracy.
The following day, I sent Tom an email apologising for this. This email was sent entirely voluntarily, and way before I knew that Tom had instructed lawyers. I then added the text of the emailed apology to the original offending blogpost. I have said in the past that I apologise when I get things wrong, and did so then.
However, one apology does not seem enough for some people in the left of centre blogosphere, so let me repeat it again here. I got it wrong. I was acting on information from a good source which I had no reason to believe was unreliable. But that's immaterial. I got it wrong. I took immediate steps to address the error both on my own blog and with the Mail on Sunday. But, it still comes back to the fact that I got it wrong. Since Tom only took action against the Mail on Sunday I have to assume that he accepted my apology and the fact that I had done all in my power to correct things.
I do not take these issues lightly and have been horrified at some of the things which people with other agendas have written about me on certain left of centre blogs. Their gleeful reaction says more about them than it can ever do about me. But that's politics. That's blogging. If you can't stand the heat etc etc.