The BBC are leading on claims from Christine Pratt of the "National Bullying Helpline" that members of Gordon Brown's staff called them on "three or four" occasions.
Now this story immediately smelt funny to me. Why would a charity breach apparent confidences like that? And why have I never heard of this supposedly national organisation?
Well according to the original BBC report:
"Ms Pratt said the helpline was "a non-political organisation".
Now this may or may not be true, but the BBC did not appear to have made even the most elementary of checks before running the story.
In fact a quick look at NBH's website reveals:
There are also doubts about whether NBH is actually a functioning charity at all.
An even quicker look at the Charity Commission's register reveals that
- They are 206 days overdue on registering their accounts.
- They have registered just £852 pounds in expenditure since they were established.
Now this doesn't seem to be the operations of a national charity to me. In fact just a little more digging tells us that
- The Charity's website was registered by a "bullying business" selling bullying investigations
- The Charity has referred people who call them to this business
- This business is actually owned by the people behind the charity
- That serious questions have already been asked about this
All of this should have rung alarm bells at the BBC.
Unfortunately none of this was mentioned in the original report and only some of it has since been picked up by their Political Editor.
So why was this?
Was the story offered by Christine Pratt just too good for them to question?