It seems that the Culture Secretary James Purnell is in a spot of bother this morning. Having managed to ride his way through the fake photo row where he was photochopped into a group photo it has resurfaced this morning after the Sunday Telegraph obtained copies of emails casting further doubt on his original statements saying he had no idea doctored photos had been produced and he would never have agreed to it if he did.
In an an email dated July 24th the Chief Executive of the hospital said, "Dear James, Thank you for attending on Friday. I am pleased we were able to catch the photographer so that he could 'drop you into the photographs'." This was almost two months before the story broke. She even then sent him a copy of the doctored photo about two weeks before the news of it emerged.
Unsurprisingly, Purnell has said that these emails were received by his constituency office but he was not informed of them until September 24th by which time everyone was talking about it. Now, in fairness I think that it's plausible for the emails sent a week or so before the news appeared.
However, for me at least, that plausibility is not quite as strong on the matter of the email sent in July which is pretty explicit about what is going on. Although I admit I am judging the minister by my standards on reading email and I guess he might have people to read it for him. In which case he should fire whoever failed to spot a nightmare of a story.