Emails of Brown’s former spin doctor Damian McBride maybe have been hacked

The Evening Standard reports Scotland Yard has told Damian McBride, Gordon Brown’s former spin doctor, that emails which led to him losing his job might have been hacked. McBride lost his role as director of communications for Brown in 2009 in what was known as the “smeargate” scandal. It also saw Derek Draper the former Labour Insider step down as editor of the LabourList website.

The Smeargate scandal broke after emails between Draper and McBride were leaked detailing a plan to create a blog, called The Red Rag, to spread scurrilous stories and gossip about leading Tory party politicians.

The idea was that it would rival the Guido Fawkes blog on the right and give Labour more clout in the political blogosphere.

Red Rag planned to target Tories including David Cameron and MP Nadine Dorries.

Ironically, the emails detailing the project were obtained by Guido Fawkes, or Paul Staines, although there is no suggestion that he hacked any emails accounts or was involved in any illegal activity.

Staines passed the emails to Sunday newspapers and thus cutting short the political careers of the two.

McBride and Draper have both been contacted by the police and told their emails may have been unlawfully accessed.

A source told the Standard: “The police got in touch with McBride and Draper to seek a meeting to discuss the Guido Fawkes emails. They said they had been passed information from a third party.”

The paper adds that both men are said to be reluctant to meet the detectives. A source said: “Both want to let sleeping dogs lie. It was a very damaging episode.”

At the time Draper said he regretted ever receiving the infamous email and his hasty reply. He said also that his email had been hacked.

“I do ask people to remember that its contents were never published by me or anyone else involved in the Labour Party and they would never have seen the light of day were it not for someone hacking into my emails and placing them into the public domain.

“Because of that, a silly idea ultimately destined for the trash can became a national scandal.”