One of the candidates tipped to replace James Purnell is Longdendale councillor, Jonny Reynolds. As a former staffer in Purnell's office, former vice chair of Labour Students and a columnist for Progress Online, he has support from within his constituency and further afield.
It was a shock then when I received an email from a "Sam Smith" who made various allegations against Councillor Reynolds as seen in the screenshot below:
According to the source code of the email, the senders originating IP address was 220.127.116.11.
I further quizzed the claims and asked for evidence to back up these allegations on Councillor Jonny Reynolds and others mentioned within the email. I got a reply with yet more accusations, yet no evidence as requested:
Upon further inspection of the source code of the email address, it pointed to the IP address 18.104.22.168 which belongs to Tameside Council. So someone from inside Tameside Council offices was behind the smears against Councillor Reynolds.
So I contacted another Longdendale Councillor, Sean Parker-Perry as recommended by Sam Smith. Sean had announced to his friends on Facebook that he was the "official Longdendale candidate". I wanted to contact him for more information as to what was going on with the Stalybridge & Hyde selection. He replied to my email and gave me this response:
I am quite pleased that Sean likes my factually correct articles. However, I approached this with caution and I used the service DidTheyReadIt to trace if Councillor Parker-Perry had read the email and he did. He opened the email under the same 22.214.171.124 IP address as "Sam Smith". The source code of the email further confirms this.
With this evidence, I thought to keep this quiet in order to obtain more information from Sam Smith/Sean Parker-Perry and gain further concrete evidence. I responded to Councillor Parker-Perry's email without dropping any hints and I got another email from him which can be read below:
It's interesting to see that Sean is becoming more "open" with his rivalry against Jonny Reynolds. Again the same 126.96.36.199 IP address makes another appearance in the source code of Sean Parker-Perry's email.
Things went a little quiet with Sam Smith, so we gave them a little nudge. We got another email with claims of rigging the selection to favour Reynolds hinting that Councillor Parker-Perry was no longer in the race to be candidate. Something which he confirmed on the phone to me. Smith's email can be read below:
We checked the source code again and this came from Tameside Council's 188.8.131.52 IP address. It is quite worrying how emails at Tameside Council are going out undetected with smears of this nature. I am told by a source close to Tameside Council that they should be able to trace who was logged onto the machine at the time.
With the evidence in hand. I called Councillor Sean Parker-Perry and asked him if he knew of the emails done by Sam Smith and if he did them. He denied all knowledge of the emails. So to jog his memory, I sent a copy of the emails with the supporting evidence attached as you see here. I got the following reply from Sean:
"I question both the source and motivation of the editor of this website. Since being expelled from the conservative party, spending time in Police captivity and his close relations with the Tory PPC, Liam Billington has continued to harrass me. I have catagorically denied this allegation that I have emailed Billington and I believe Billington struggles to grasp the technological intelligence to make these statements.
I assume that Billington is a key member of Rob Adlard's Tory campaign team, a matter that will be of interest to the electorate following his recent indescretions.
I have instructed solicitors to deal with Billington and his accusations, a matter that could once again involve the Police."
I think Sean is getting a little too defensive here considering he stated I produce factually correct articles - eating your words Sean? I did say to him that if it wasn't him, surely he shares the same concerns as I do as to who wrote the emails against Councillor Reynolds.
To counter Parker-Perry's claims in the email:
1. Yes I was a member of the Conservative Party, but I decided to resign.
2. The police captivity Sean talks about is when he had me arrested for "harassment" however his recent emails would seem otherwise. He had me arrested by PC Sue Moss, the local copper who he sits on the local district assembly with. I do find it rich coming from you complaining about "being on the wrong side of the law" when you went to court over allegedly stealing items from your ex's car.
3. I work in Search Engine Optimisation. I think I know what I am talking about.
4. I am friends with the Conservative PPC for Stalybridge & Hyde, Rob Adlard, however I have never had the opportunity to aid him in his campaign in the constituency. Just because you resign from a party doesn't mean you have to lose friends over politics.
5. I am quite happy for you to notify your solicitor or your friend PC Sue Moss.
For posterity the email with Sean Parker-Perry's right of reply matched the same IP address in the source code as Sam Smith's. Oh noes!
And it isn't the first time that Councillor Parker-Perry has made a mess of the internet. Whilst working as a "parliamentary political operative" to James Purnell, he felt compelled to whitewash his employers name amongst others he is connected to under the guise as "Roadmunkey". He also set up a blog against the local bypass where he used it to attack opponents.
The evidence built up against Councillor Sean Parker-Perry is clear. Rather than digging himself a hole by trying to further drag others down to his level, he should come clean and admit that he smeared Councillor Jonny Reynolds in order to boost his chances of being selected by Stalybridge & Hyde Constituency Labour Party.