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PRIME MINISTER David Cameron was under pressure to investigate top Tory officials last night following claims they plotted a paedophilia smear campaign against “senior Labour figures.”
Crusading Labour MP Tom Watson went public yesterday over his month-long hunt for answers on the allegations, which surfaced at a dinner date involving a senior Daily Telegraph journalist.
Only three weeks ago Conservative chair Grant Shapps flatly denied the existence of emails from the party’s HQ which are said to speculate on which Labour figures “were paedophiles” and how media tip-offs should be “deployed.”
The Tory said on January 30 that he could “not find any evidence” to back up the claims.
But yesterday the Daily Telegraph appeared to confirm the story.
Mr Watson said Mr Cameron must now act to root out the source.
“Either it’s intelligence that needs to be with the police or gossip, innuendo and smear,” he told the Morning Star.
The allegations came to light following a lunch between shadow arts minister Chris Bryant and Telegraph political correspondent Matthew Holehouse.
It was there, Mr Bryant reports, that he was told of a plot set out in email exchanges between “senior figures at Conservative Central Office” and the Daily Telegraph.
The Labour MPs to be targeted were said to be “very senior,” he added.
In a letter to Mr Watson yesterday the Telegraph’s executive editor Ben Clissitt claims that the conversation between Mr Bryant and the journalist had been “over-interpreted.”
But he suggests that the allegations centred on “correspondence involving senior Labour figures and the Paedophile Information Exchange (Pie).”
The 1970s organisation has already been at the centre of press smears aimed at MPs Jack Dromey, Harriet Harman and Patricia Hewitt, who at the time had roles within the National Council for Civil Liberties — now known as Liberty.
Pie was an affiliate for a short time before it was ejected.
Mr Watson said: “Finally after a month of trying the editor of the Telegraph has admitted the emails exist.”
This “flatly contradicts Grant Shapps’s denial,” he added.
“Now Cameron has a chance to review what senior Conservative Party officials have been saying about Members of Parliament. Those MPs have a right to know.”
A Tory spokesman said that contact between the Telegraph and Conservative officials should be “no surprise.”
And a Conservative Party spokesman added: “This is completely false and without foundation.” The paper, owned by tax-dodging billionaires the Barclay brothers, has been at the forefront of attacks on Labour in response to its assault on the super-rich. But it was rocked on Tuesday by the high-profile resignation of political commentator Peter Oborne over its lack of reporting of HSBC bank’s involvement in illegal activities.
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