How To Fail At Political Spying: Conservative Press Officer Caught Gathering Intelligence On Far Left Candidate [VIDEO]

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Guy Bentley Research Associate, Reason Foundation
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When political operatives attend an opponents public events to do opposition research it’s usually best for them to keep a low profile lest they be exposed by their opponents – or a story-hungry hack desperate to capture their embarrassment.

While most political agents manage to blend in perfectly well into the alien surroundings of their opponents turf, it was not so for one conservative press officer.

Attending an event organized in support of a radical socialist on the verge of capturing his party’s leadership and whose statements make Bernie Sanders look like a centrist, Mike Watson found out that if you’re doing some sneaky political spying it’s not a great idea to be the first to turn up.

The event was in support of the front-runner for the U.K.’s Labour Party leadership Jeremy Corbyn. Instead of listening quietly to the ramblings of a man who, if elected, would probably lose heavily to the Conservative Party, Watson quickly found himself pounced on by Channel Four News reporter Michael Crick.


Once exposed, Watson stood up and walked briskly out of the meeting hall back to his car under a barrage of questions from a Crick. Watson was asked whether he was “embarrassed” that he’d been found out and whether he had been sent by Prime Minister David Cameron.

But instead of rising to Crick’s incessant questioning, Watson kept his mouth firmly shut and paced back to his car. Corbyn later said that Watson was “welcome to stay. We wouldn’t have thrown him out.”

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