There's been some hoo-hah around these parts about this story in the Evening Standard:
Boris put in claims for 'awesome' website - Paul WaughBoris Johnson was refused a £500 expense claim for a payment to a man who runs a pro-Boris website when he was MP for Henley-on-Thames and running for Mayor of London.Commons officials refused to approve the bill for Simon Stacpoole, who runs the Boriswatch.com site - which describes Mr Johnson as "the mutt's nads" and praises him as "awesome"...Mr Stacpoole was paid £1,000 in November 2007 to build a new website for the MP.
Now to me this story and headline appears to suggest that Boris paid or attempted to pay Simon Stacpoole to run Boriswatch.com.
If true, it would mean that Boris was secretly funding a pro-Boris campaign site with taxpayers' money.
Quite a serious story no? So why aren't the Standard leading with it?
Because it isn't true. Here's the reply I got from Simon
Neither of the two claims were for Boriswatch.com. I am a web developer, and I developed the backend solution for boris-johnson.com. That is what Claim 2 (£1000) is for. Claim 1 (£500) was rejected, as far as I understand it, only because it was bundled into Claim 2.
There is no more to the story than that. Thanks for checking though - you are the only one who has! ;-)
It didn't take me too long to confirm Simon's involvement with the Mayor's official website, nor the fact that Waugh had not contacted Simon about these claims.
However there is still a question about whether and why the two claims were bundled together in Boris's expenses and I'm waiting for a response from the Mayor on that.
But regardless of this, the implication that Stacpoole was paid to run Boriswatch.com is clearly wrong.
-Update- I've just spoken to Paul Waugh. He told me that he did not intend to imply that Simon was paid for Boriswatch and says that the story will be amended to make this clear.