Yesterday’s appalling breach of House of Commons security has made the authorities furious – at the person who helped to bring the pictures to the world. He is Paul ‘Gobby’ Lambert, the BBC fixer who owns the voice you normally hear shouting questions at politicians as they prowl about Westminster. Gobby is known and loved by the best MPs, but is seen as an irritant by those who would prefer more deferential treatment. He is the kind of cameraman who sees a story and goes for it: the recent pictures of the Chief of the Defence Staff on targeting Gaddafi was a Gobby special, as were Cherie Blair’s comments on Brown, as was the pie-man yesterday. Gobby ran after the Wendi-whacked assailant, Jonathan May-Bowles, as he was being led away by police and in so doing so annoyed the authorities who have today decided to withdraw his lobby pass. This decision (by Jill Pay) means he can’t operate on the parliamentary estate, nor lob questions on behalf of viewers. It is a complete outrage, and a twitter campaign “http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%22savegobby%22”>#savegobby, has begun.
I’m delighted to see Louise Mensch raised this as a point of order in the Commons, and she has also signed up to the “http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%22savegobby%22”>#savegobby campaign. Ed Balls has also redeemed himself – for today anyway – by doing so as well. It’ll be worth seeing which other MPs lend their support. Because, make no mistake, there is a certain type of politician who sees the Murdoch imbroglio as the chance to suborn the press, and get rid of pesky-types like Gobby. Journalists like him mark the difference between a British-style inquisitive press, and a French-style deferential press. We know which side Louise Mensch and (even) Ed Balls are on. Let’s see who else joins them.