ITV’s Paul Brand faced ‘wild’ homophobic abuse on social media over Partygate picture

Journalist says ‘there’s some pretty wild stuff being said about my family’ on Twitter

Matt Mathers
Wednesday 25 May 2022 14:13
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Partygate: PM was 'raising a glass to someone leaving', says Grant Shapps

ITV News journalist Paul Brand has hit out at the "grim" homophobic abuse he and his husband have received over his reporting on the Partygate scandal.

Mr Brand, ITV's UK editor, has been at the centre of reporting on Covid law-breaking in Downing Street and Whitehall.

He has broken several agenda-setting exclusive stories on the affair, including a picture of Boris Johnson raising a glass at the leaving do of his former spin doctor, Lee Cain, published earlier this week.

This has led some people online to speculate about who his sources are. A Tory MP also suggested that the image was linked to Mr Brand's husband, Joe Cuddeford, a civil servant.

Mr Cuddeford works for the Geospatial Commission, a government body, which is part of the Cabinet Office and uses location data to investigate economic and social opportunities.

Writing to Twitter on Tuesday morning, Mr Brand said that he wanted to refute claims that his source is a family member.

"So...there's some pretty wild stuff being said about my family on here," he wrote. "I haven't tweeted so far as it's never great to engage with conspiracy theories etc."

He added: "But it's all got a bit OTT [over the top] lately, so to be clear nobody in my family is my 'source', attended any parties or was fined."

A number of homophobic tweets directed at Mr Brand and his husband were posted to Twitter on Tuesday. Some of the tweets, posted by anonymous accounts, remain online.

Mark Jenkinson, a Tory MP, replied to a Twitter user with a blank avatar who had questioned if it was a “coincidence” that Mr Brand “keeps landing exclusive leaks", given that his husband works for the civil service.

The MP for Workington wrote: “It must be a coincidence, because he’s a deputy director in the Cabinet Office and the investigation was carried out by the...oh.”

Mr Brand added in his post: “It’s been an education in how disinformation spreads. Inevitably it became pretty homophobic and grim so in order to protect the people I love I felt I had to tweet this.”

Mr Jenksinson said he had never been "involved in any conspiracy theories about Paul Brand". He said he was not implying that Mr Brand's husband was involved in the leaks.

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