Wednesday, 30 December 2015

A summary of the holes in Lucy Allan's explanation of 'Unless you die'

10 reasons why I cannot believe Lucy Allan’s explanation of the ‘faked death threat’

Following my post of 26th December 2015, in which I revealed Lucy Allan’s astonishing email to me on Christmas Eve, I thought it would be useful to summarise the reasons why I cannot believe Lucy Allan’s claim that the words ‘Unless you die’, which she admits adding to a constituent’s email, came from a separate single email.

Just to clarify, ‘Rusty’, who was the constituent in question, is an online pseudonym of Adam Watling and he is the son of one of the local Councillors. It is Rusty who was called by Lucy Allan on 14th December 2015 a ‘creepy son who is a stalker’ in a facebook post that she subsequently removed.

Here are my 10 reasons (I am sure there are more and this story is still developing):

1.   Lucy Allan has now given a new explanation which conflicts with her previous statements  

In her official statement published on her facebook page on 11th December 2015 and on her website the following day she states:

 Equally, I have acknowledged that a recent Facebook posting made by me drew upon two separate anonymous communications sent to me online.’

She has restated her claim that the words ‘Unless you die’ came from a separate single email on other occasions and yet on 24th December 2015 she stated to me by email:

‘Please note the police have a file containing various online malicious communications, which include communications containing the words to which you refer.’

To be consistent with her previous statements Lucy Allan should have said ‘which include a communication’ but instead she said ‘include communications’ plural. The sole point of my email to Lucy Allan was to seek clarification on why she has not published the single email which she says contains the words ‘Unless you die’ and yet, rather than giving me a clear explanation, she has given me an explanation which is at odds with her previous statements !

2.   It makes no sense that Lucy Allan has so far failed to publish the email which contains the words ‘Unless you die’

Many people have been calling for some time for Lucy Allan to publish the second email which she claims contains the words ‘Unless you die’. Rather than explaining her reason for not publishing it, she has either ignored the question or has blocked people from her facebook page (as she did with me when I asked her the question).  Her failure to publish the email is continuing to lose her support from people who supported her at the May 2015 election. You would think that she would publish the anonymous email to help to stop her losing support , especially when she knows she has such a slim majority of 730 and so needs to hang on to every bit of support she has got.

What Lucy Allan has told us is that ‘the Metropolitan Police are investigating a cyber harassment campaign’ (her statement of 11th December 2015) and that ‘the police have a file containing various online malicious communications, which include communications containing the words to which you refer.’ (her email to me of 24th December 2015).

As well as the confusion over the number of communications in question this begs the question ‘have the Metropolitan Police instructed Lucy Allan not to publish the email(s)?’ I would find that hard to believe because Lucy Allan has admitted that the email with the words ‘Unless you die’ does not constitute a threat, she says the email is anonymous and she was very quick to publish an extract of Rusty’s email and indeed she was very quick to release the tape of the phone death threat. When she is under so much pressure at the moment you would think that she would do the obvious thing to help win back some support which is to publish the elusive email that so many people are crying out for.

3.   Lucy Allan introduced her facebook post by saying ‘This is from Rusty from Dawley’

Straight away she represents that ‘Rusty’ was the author of the whole of the text she quotes. Not only does she name ‘Rusty’ as the only author of the text without naming the other anonymous author of the words ‘Unless you die’ but she says ‘This is from Rusty’ making it very clear that she wants us to believe Rusty wrote the whole of the text including the words ‘Unless you die’.

4.   Lucy Allan’s use of quotation marks makes us believe Rusty wrote ‘Unless you die’

Lucy Allan introduces the alleged extract of Rusty’s email with a double quotation mark and then there is no further quotation mark until right at the end of her quotation, which gives the clear impression that the words ‘Unless you die’ came from Rusty. There is no quotation mark after ‘hope’ and before ‘Unless’ which should  have been the case if Lucy Allan wanted us to believe the words ‘Unless you die’ came from a separate author. 

5.   Simply quoting the three words ‘Unless you die’ is meaningless

Lucy Allan has said that these words were posted as an example of ‘unacceptable online abuse’. However these three words on their own make no sense. Surely, if Lucy Allan had received an anonymous email containing those words she should have published the whole of that email or enough of that email to allow us to understand the context in which the words ‘Unless you die’ had been written.   

6.   Adding ‘Unless you die’ fits perfectly with Rusty’s email to turn it into an apparent death threat

Isn’t it strange that, out of all the examples of daily online abuse that Lucy Allan says she receives, she chose to extract only the three words of ‘Unless you die’ from another single email and, rather than quoting other parts of that email, she decided to add just those three words to Rusty’s email, the effect being to turn three words which are meaningless on their own into something that appears like a death threat from Rusty ? Those three words were added immediately after Rusty’s words of ‘in which case there is no hope’. They were not shown in a separate paragraph and they were not even shown on a separate line as the words ‘Unless you’ immediately followed ‘ in which case there is no hope’ on the same line with the word ‘die’ then appearing on the next line. 

7.   Lucy Allan altered Rusty’s email to make it appear worse than it was

Lucy Allan did not just add the words ‘Unless you die’. She actually misquoted Rusty’s email as follows:

(1)   Lucy Allan omitted altogether the first 5 paragraphs of Rusty’s email which in my view were polite and made very valid points. Rusty’s comments, which Rusty took from a template from anti-bombing campaigners, appealed to her to oppose Syrian air strikes while offering an alternative approach to defeating ISIL.

(2)  Lucy Allan omitted the signing-off words that Rusty had put on his email which were:

‘Think about it, yeah?



(3)    In the text from Rusty’s email that Lucy Allan did publish she changed Rusty’s text of:

‘Look, I know that you’re probably just a robot or at the very least a person so detached from reality that they have no empathy for anyone but their super rich buddies and benefactors…’

to her altered version of :

‘Look, I know that you’re just a robot or at least a person so detached from reality that you have no empathy for anyone but your super rich buddies and benefactors…’  

Lucy Allan must have spent some time consciously making these changes, the effect of which was to make Rusty’s email appear more like a personal attack on her. Why else would she have changed ‘they’ to ‘you’ and ‘their’ to ‘your’ ?

8.   Lucy Allan’s facebook explanation makes little sense

After Rusty pointed out that Lucy Allan was wrong to attribute the words ‘Unless you die’ to him she posted on her facebook an explanation which makes very little sense:

‘ Re Rustygate: I posted actual comments made to me on the same day, although not in the same email. Comments were added to the post as they came in. I posted them to show examples of the type of unacceptable online abuse that comes in most days and that most people tolerate silently.
The comments were not posted to discredit any individual. ‘’Rusty’’ could have been anyone, or a wholly fictional person. He chose to identify himself and came forward with a surname. At that point I took the post down’. 

Note how Lucy Allan is therefore telling us that the words ‘Unless you die’ must have been sent to her in an email dated the same date as Rusty’s email of 27th November 2015. However, she did not post Rusty’s doctored email on her facebook page until 1st December 2015. So, what can she mean when she says ‘comments were added to the post as they came in’ and why did it take her 4 days to post Rusty’s email plus the words ‘Unless you die’ ?

I also cannot accept her words that ‘The comments were not posted to discredit any individual’. I think they were because she named him, albeit a pseudonym, and she identified the town where he lived. I believe that Lucy Allan was clearly looking to ‘name and shame’ from her words ‘So starting today I will publish it – you have been warned!’

9.   Lucy Allan’s twitter explanation seeks to blame Rusty

On 1st December 2015 Lucy Allan tweeted to News Editor Alex Wickham:

‘@ WikiGuido have emailed u. Rusty is a fake name. I posted his troll comments to expose it and later updated my post with further comments.’

This comment and subsequent responses from many angry people can still be seen on Lucy Allan’s twitter account, as of today, and it makes interesting reading. In this comment from Lucy Allan there is clearly no sign of any remorse for the misrepresentation of Rusty’s email. On the contrary, it is more of an attack on Rusty than an apology to him or to the many people who were misled by her comment. 

Alex Wickham works for the political blog Guido Fawkes and on 2nd December 2015 Guido Fawkes published the following explanation from Lucy Allan that she had given to them:

“I took the unpleasant stuff from one of his emails and posted it on my Facebook to expose some of the relentless stuff we get. More stuff then came back by response, which I then added to my original post. I added more of the abuse received to my face book”

Sadly, this explanation makes little sense to me. What does Lucy Allan mean by ‘More stuff then came back by response’ – who from?

10.               Lucy Allan blames Rusty for the ‘faked death threat’

I find it incredible that Lucy Allan stated the following in her email to me of 24th December 2015:

For the record it was the son of a Labour Councillor, who falsely claimed I had faked a death threat. This was a bizarre and twisted claim. The reality was, I re posted words on my Facebook page that were sent to me by someone using a false name. I did not suggest at any point  those words amounted to a death threat.  I did not 'make up' the words used. MPs routinely receive this kind of material including me.’

My view of this is that Lucy Allan seems to be in denial as to what she has done but to actually blame the victim for her own actions I find hard to comprehend.

Where to go from here?

My hope is that Lucy Allan will speak to the media upon her return to her office on 4th January 2016 as she was generally unavailable for comment in the run-up to Christmas. Hopefully we will get closer to the truth over the ‘Unless you die’ email if she speaks with the media.

In the meantime, I would suggest that any Telford constituent who is also unhappy with the non-publication of the ‘Unless you die’ email contacts  Lucy Allan at  and , . Please make sure you include your full name and address and you should receive an acknowledgement to say Lucy Allan aims to respond to you within 5-10 working days.

Neil Phillips

30th December 2015

Saturday, 26 December 2015

New comment from Lucy Allan over the alleged 'faked death threat'

 Lucy Allan MP has a new explanation of where the words 'Unless you die' came from which I find unbelievable !  

Please read through the blog from the start to give you the background to what has led to the astonishing email from Lucy Allan MP of 24th December 2015 which is revealed towards the end of the blog

I would like to make the point early on that I believe that this matter is above party politics. It is about ‘what standard of conduct from our MPs do we think is acceptable?’ I am not a Labour activist trying to force a Telford by-election so that Labour can win a seat back from the Conservatives, as they could do given Lucy Allan's slim majority of 730. I respect the views of all major political parties but until now I have always voted Conservative. In the May 2015 General election I voted Conservative in the Wrekin constituency before moving to Lucy Allan's Telford constituency. 

Even though I could not vote for Lucy Allan in the last election I supported her on social media and I admired her for a very energetic election campaign and for becoming the first ever Conservative MP of Telford since it became a separate constituency in 1997. 

This blog focuses on the 'Rustygate' affair and does not comment on the other matters that Lucy Allan has recently been in the national news for, namely the alleged bullying of workers, the alleged defamation of some local Councillors and the alleged defamation of one of the Councillor's sons. As well as being widely covered in national newspapers and the Shropshire Star, there is a great deal to read from online news media and if you want to catch up I suggest that you do a google search for the words 'Lucy Allan' and click on the 'News' tab at the top of the page.   

The term 'Rustygate' was used by Lucy Allan herself and the background to the story appeared in the Daily Mail on 4th December 2015. 

Ever since Lucy Allan gave her explanation that the words 'Unless you die' came from another email many people have called for her to publish the other email. I personally felt the same way and I could not understand why Lucy Allan seemed so reluctant to publish that other email, especially when she had been so quick to release the tape of the telephone threat that was made against her. Lucy Allan's office reported the telephone threat to police on 7th December 2015, several days after she had published the email to which she had added the words 'Unless you die'. If you have not yet heard the telephone death threat you can listen to it here. 

A number of observers have expressed other concerns about Lucy Allan's explanation of there being two separate emails. By way of example, I quote below an extract of a commentary by Richard Bartholomew, the full text of which can be seen here. 

' ....  “Unless you die” makes no sense on its own. Why would anyone extract this phrase from a different email, without any further information about what the author is trying to convey?

..... it just so happens that although taken out of context, “Unless you die” fits the new context in which it was “accidentally” placed:

…in which case there is no hope. Unless you die.

What are the chances of that?  '

Lucy Allan published a statement on her facebook page on 11th December 2015 about the 'Rustygate' emails which included the following statement:

'Equally, I have acknowledged that a recent Facebook posting made by me drew upon two separate anonymous communications sent to me online. In conflating elements of these two communications into one message, I created a misleading impression, for which I have apologised. In the climate of intimidation created by the sort of cyber abuse to which MPs of all parties are now commonly subjected, on a daily basis, I believe that this error was understandable.' 

The same statement was published on Lucy Allan's website on 12th December 2015.

Interestingly, the following sentence seems to have since been added to the original facebook statement following the words 'for which I have apologised' but it is still not included in the statement on Lucy Allan's website:

'I did not claim that either anonymous message was a threat of any kind'. 

I do not know why this sentence has been added to Lucy Allan's facebook statement when it is not included in her website statement.

Both statements make it very clear that Lucy Allan states that there were two separate anonymous online communications and there has been separate confirmation that 'online communications' refers to emails. 

Note again the sentence in her current facebook statement that refers to 'either anonymous message'. That must mean that she is referring to
 two messages, the one being ‘Rusty's’ and the other being the mysterious email many of us have been waiting to see which allegedly includes the words 'Unless you die'.

In addition, in an exchange of facebook posts on Lucy Allan's facebook page on 11th December 2015, facebook user Pogle Jones asked Lucy Allan a question, Lucy Allan replied and then Pogle Jones made a further comment that Lucy Allan did not reply to. A copy of this exchange is shown below.

Pogle Jones Just wondering Lucy - if the telephone threat was made on the 7th December how on earth were you able to refer to it or conflate it with another email on the 30th November?
Unlike · Reply · 10 · 18 hrs

Lucy Allan
Lucy Allan As previously stated it was two online communications which I quoted from. Thanks for pointing out that is not clear.
Like · Reply · 3 · 18 hrs
Pogle Jones
Pogle Jones It would be much more clear if you shared both online communications
Like · Reply · 11 · 18 hrs · Edited

On 11th December 2015, I, along with many others, viewed Lucy Allan's facebook page and I posted the following comment:

Neil Phillips Hello Lucy, I am one of your constituents and I supported you at the election in May. I hope therefore you will be good enough to respond to me. I believe that much of the criticism you are receiving can be addressed if you publish the email you received in which you say someone stated 'Unless you die''. If for some reason you cannot publish it you should explain why. You have released the phone call of the verbal threat and so I do not understand why you cannot release the email with the words 'Unless you die'. Until you do so I am afraid that many people will just not understand where these words came from and will believe that you simply made them up. You were, of course wrong to attribute these words to Adam Watling (Rusty) and that is something I have never seen before in my life. You have put Telford in the national media (Telegraph,Independent,Daily Mail,Spectator,BBC to name but a few) for the wrong reasons and I believe that unless you now give us the full picture with the explanation of the second email that you must now step down.

Lucy Allan responded to my post by deleting my comment and blocking me. She also did the same with many other facebook users, the vast majority of whom I felt were expressing serious concerns and challenging Lucy Allan without being abusive. 

I was not happy with my comment being deleted by Lucy Allan and with her blocking me. 

I decided to send Lucy Allan an email and set out the same comment I had made in my facebook post she had deleted. I figured that as I was one of her constituents she was duty-bound to respond to me. I sent my email on 12th December 2015 and I had an acknowledgement to say that Lucy Allan aimed to reply within 5-10 working days.

On 22nd December 2015 Lucy Allan responded to me but her reply totally avoided my question regarding the publication of the second email and simply restated her statement published on her website on 12th December 2015.   

This again troubled me and so I very quickly sent Lucy Allan a further email on 22nd December 2015 which was worded as follows:

'Dear Lucy,

Thank you for your reply.

I have seen your statement thanks.

Unfortunately you have not answered my question which is why you have not published the email which contains the words 'Unless you die'.

Please answer this question rather than avoiding it. If you do not answer it then the only conclusion that I and many other people will draw is that this email does not actually exist. 


Neil Phillips '

I had hoped that Lucy Allan would reply to this email quickly. On the morning of 24th December 2015 I saw that her facebook and twitter accounts were back in action but I was still blocked from her facebook account. It concerned me that Lucy Allan was spending time on her facebook and twitter accounts while failing to give me a direct answer to an urgent question I had put to her on 12th December 2015.   

I therefore sent Lucy Allan the following email using the heading 'Urgent - your failure to reply to my email' :

'Dear Lucy,

I note that you have failed to respond to my email of 22nd December 2015 after not giving me a straight answer to my email of 12th December 2015.

I note that you have still failed to publish the email in which you state that the words 'Unless you die' appear.

You are causing many people to be seriously concerned because we cannot understand why you do not publish the email and the only conclusion you are leading us to draw is that the email does not actually exist.

Will you please reply to my email today explaining why you are not publishing the email.

If I do not hear from you by the end of today this matter will have to be taken further because you are clearly failing in your duty to respond to a fair question from one of your constituents on a matter which is extremely serious which you appear to be taking very lightly. 

Yours sincerely

Neil Phillips '

I was not expecting a reply from Lucy Allan after I received an 'Out of Office' reply telling me the office was now closed for Christmas until 4th January 2016.  I did however receive the following reply from Lucy Allan later on 24th December 2015:

 ' Dear Mr Phillips

I refer to your email.

You have had prompt responses to all your previous communications. Please note the police have a file containing various online malicious communications, which include communications containing the words to which you refer.

For the record it was the son of a Labour Councillor, who falsely claimed I had faked a death threat. This was a bizarre and twisted claim. The reality was, I re posted words on my Facebook page that were sent to me by someone using a false name. I did not suggest at any point  those words amounted to a death threat.  I did not 'make up' the words used. MPs routinely receive this kind of material including me.

I do accept I should not be engaging with these online anonymous trolls and that it was ill judged to try to expose them in the way that I did. For that reason I removed the post within hours.

There office is now closed and there will be no further communication on this matter until January. 

I wish you well. 

Yours sincerely

Lucy Allan MP
Member of Parliament for Telford '

The contents of Lucy Allan's email astound me. The explanation of the source of the words 'Unless you die' seems to me to be at odds with Lucy Allan's previous statements. Her previous statements have indicated that those words came from one single email, as I believe I have evidenced above. However her email to me of 24th December states 'Please note the police have a file containing various online communications, which include communications containing the words to which you refer'.I interpret this as meaning that the words 'Unless you die' are included in communications (plural), ie that there is not in fact a single email which has those 3 words. If there is a single email with those words Lucy Allan has not told me that in her email to me and she has certainly still not published that email.  

I am also shocked to see the comment regarding the son of the Labour Councillor which I was not expecting or had requested.  

My Conclusion

" I think politicians have an ethical duty not to mislead or misinform voters". 

These were the words of Lucy Allan MP before she won her seat in the May 2015 election. I am sure that we all agree that MPs should not mislead or misinform their constituents because this not only discredits the MP concerned but it undermines the trust that voters have in politicians generally

I consider Lucy Allan's email to me of 24th December 2015 to be inconsistent with her previous statements that the words 'Unless you die' appeared in one single email and no such email has been published. It is my view that the single email that many of us have been waiting to see does not in fact exist.

In view of the apparent inconsistencies in the explanations provided by Lucy Allan over the true source of the words 'Unless you die' I intend to make a complaint to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. I am aware that the Commissioner has previously announced that no investigation is warranted but in light of the fresh evidence I hope that the Commissioner will now feel that an investigation is justified.

However, in my view Lucy Allan's conduct is significantly damaging the Conservative Party as a whole and so I believe that the Party should now take its own action.

Neil Phillips
26th December 2015