MI6 planned to assassinate Nasser using nerve gas, according to Peter Wright.

On the question of using nerve gas for assassination I quote from Spycatcher (Wright 1987, 16). “At the beginning of the Suez Crisis, MI6 developed a plan through the London station, to assassinate Nasser using nerve gas. Eden (the PM)  initially gave his approval to the operation, but later rescinded it when he got agreement from the French and Israelis to engage in joint military action.” When that invasion failed the plan was resurrected but according to Peter Wright then failed ‘lamentably’.

PL has article on spies who worked at The Observer in new BJR revealing new names see “Nest of Spies”.

PL has a piece published in the latest British Journalism Review (BJR) on those from The Observer who worked as spies or acted as MI6 assets. It is a follow up  of my BJR piece from 2015 and is based on new material in Donald Trelford’s biographical account “Shouting in the Street” (Biteback 2017). He outs himself for helping MI6 as a young editor and then names some of former colleagues who had told him that they worked for MI6.  Trelford was the editor throughout my eleven years at the paper.

It can be found here for those with a subscription to BJR.



The EU strikes at heart of UK’s post-Brexit FS strategy

This a very important story in the Leave debacle. Post Brexit our financial services sector will need to further develop, because it will be dependent in part, on its ability to move dirty money through to being clean money via the network of offshores. But the EU is wise to this and this is part of the counterattack.

“The Taxe 3 inquiry marks a further threat from the EU to the UK’s network of offshore tax havens following the EU referendum. The terms of reference specifically promise that “particular attention shall be given to the crown dependencies and overseas territories”.


With thousands of patients being held in ambulances at A&E, Maitlis holds Hunt’s feet to the fire – a masterclass

Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis interview with Jeremy Hunt last night on the winter crisis in hospitals was a masterclass in political interviewing. Completely on top of the brief she was measured, balanced, clear, precise and she got the tone exactly right. I might have said surgical if it wasn’t an item on the NHS. Hunt was left with a platitudinous line of defence even citing health service pressures in Australia to suggest the current mess was not exceptional. Most ridiculously he would not admit there is a crisis though anyone who has contact with NHS in the last week or so knows there is one. Hunt really does not have the gravitas expected of a Secretary of State for Health. The whole Newsnight report on the NHS was excellent. Well done BBC. That is what journalism is there for.

Interview after 19.00 mins in

Newsnight – 03/01/2018
With Emily Maitlis.