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Tuesday, 23 October, 2001, 11:08 GMT 12:08 UK
Should Jo Moore resign?
Pressure continues to grow at Westminster for Jo Moore to be sacked.

The government spin doctor sent an email on September 11 suggesting the US terror attacks provided a "very good day" to "bury" bad news.

She has already been forced to apologise in public for the offence she caused.

Now her case will be debated by MPs on Tuesday and some Labour MPs are expected to back calls for her dismissal.

Should Jo Moore resign? Should she be sacked? Does her case merit the attention that MPs and the media have given it?


She has been disciplined and given a public apology; further pursuit of her "political scalp" is simply spiteful and opportunistic

Steve, UK
Presumably those who think she should be sacked would not deem it acceptable for her to be given another job at a similar level elsewhere in the Labour party "machine". If so, where is the justice in that? She is not an MP so would lose her livelihood for an offence that does not warrant summary dismissal under current employment law. If she is sacked or forced to resign, she could (and should) go to an Industrial Tribunal because there is a procedure to go through before anybody with a minimum amount of service can be dismissed, and rightly so. She has been disciplined and given a public apology; further pursuit of her "political scalp" is simply spiteful and opportunistic.
Steve, UK

If this is the sort of person labour needs to advertise their policies, we must all question whether voting labour is a worthwhile cause.
Andy Birmingham, England

Surely the central issue is that we, the people, are paying this woman 70,000 a year to mislead and dupe us!
John Bowen, Sussex, England

Can one really get sacked for cynicism?
LG, France

Am I the only person in the country who feels sorry for Jo Moore?

Graeme Colquhoun, Scotland
Am I the only person in the country who feels sorry for Jo Moore? Firstly, most people feel she is apparently not entitled to the usual legal job protection - acting in bad taste is not a sacking offence. Secondly, she is a victim of her own unpopularity in the "Westminster village". Ms Moore is and has been for some time widely disliked by lobby correspondents and other press folks - now the press are having their fun. Let's leave her alone and be grateful that not everyone's lip starts trembling like Mr Blair's when things go wrong.
Graeme Colquhoun, Scotland

Jo Moore's biggest mistake in the eyes of the government was surely being found out. If this had been kept quiet, no doubt they would be applauding themselves on a strategic anti-publicity stroke...
Antony, UK

Guys, don't make big affair out of nothing. I have the BBC ticker on my screen in order to not be cut off from the news of the world - that's how I learned about this "affair". Believe me, nobody over here even knows that gal exists. It would be stupid to end a career just because she's a blabbermouth. I think she's learned her lesson and, as all politicans do, will learn to put on a better show in public.
Patrick, USA

Let me get this right. Her job is to lie to us. We pay her wages via taxes. How many hospital beds is that?

Most of today's leaders are opportunists

Dr Tamseel, UK
Most of today's leaders are opportunists; this is the standard practice nowadays. Israel raided Palestinian civilians the very next day and India killed many innocent civilians in Kashmir. No one made a fuss about this. I don't think that firing her will make any difference.
Dr Tamseel, UK

I too think Ms Moore should go. The 'public apology' just reeks of more spin
J. Steele, UK

Ms.Moore should certainly do the honourable thing and resign immediately. Her amazing insensitivity coupled with an even more amazing lack of judgement indicates that she is not fitted for the position she currently holds. Her actions displayed a supreme arrogance and an astounding naivety in thinking that no one of her work colleagues would leak such a grossly offensive e-mail. She has had two opportunities to redeem herself(if that is possible)and she has made a total buffoon of herself in trying to do so. Yesterday's pathetic attempt at closure of the affair made her look worse than ever in the fact that she never once expressed an apology to the relatives of the victims of 11th September. The Labour government should have no place for individuals who behave in such a callous way as she has and by not sacking her it would appear that they actually condone her behaviour or simply don't care how their business is conducted.
Alan Dean, Scotland

If we need them something is wrong

Simon Mallett, UK
Spin doctor - lets be honest, they are the Joseph Goebbels of this world. If we need them something is wrong. If we don't (and we don't) they should go, the money can be used for far better things.
Simon Mallett, UK

I'm sure this is not the first time it has been suggested that the Government use major incidents in other parts of the world to cover up bad news at home. Nor is it likely to be the last!
Donald, UK

Remember that she sent the email minutes after the plane hit the building, when both towers were still standing. It could well have been that as she sent it, it seemed like nothing more than a civil aviation mishap, which although tragic was on nothing like the scale it later turned out to be. Anyway, she is paid to time news releases for the best interests of the government, and that's what she did. And if it's really a case that she alone would stoop so low, then isn't it a happy coincidence that this story itself has helped to obscure the theft of Railtrack...
Alex, England

She was simply doing her job

Hugh, UK
Why should Ms Moore be sacked? She was simply doing her job, which was to make the government look good. And if you consider the number of bad news stories that have indeed been buried since she wrote her memo, it looks as though her advice has been taken. If anybody should apologise to the victims in the US, it should be we, the British electorate, for voting in a cruel and calculating government which is more obsessed about its own image than about common decency.
Hugh, UK

What holier-than-thou attitudes I read on this page. Let ye who is without sin cast the first stone. I find it more disturbing that the usual practice [by all parties] of burying difficult stories under bigger news stories has been completely ignored while everybody gets irate at one misjudged comment in a private email. Sept 11 continues to twist logic.

There are some very sick jokes going about so I suggest those who are irate over this matter should start their witch-hunts for others who they would have sacked. I for one am much more offended by all the city businessmen who sang national anthems before dumping their shares the day trading resumed after Sept. 11. They're the ones who should be explaining their selfish behaviour.
Steve B., Scotland

Scant regard for anything else other than New Labour's image

Garry Campbell, UK

Why all the fuss? Cynical manipulation of a media opportunity. Scant regard for anything else other than New Labour's image. Alistair C will be handing out the gold stars to Miss Moore. And at 51,000 p.a. for a three-day week, what value the taxpayer is getting from the feisty lass. Come on folks, reality check, we're talking about people (Tony, Alistair, Stephen, etc.) who have no comprehension of what 'shame' is!
Garry Campbell, UK

Initially my thoughts were that this was a poor joke - now I see it was an 'error of judgement'. In other words, this sort of practice is usually approved by Byers' department. If that's the case then Jo Moore, as reprehensible as her behaviour seems, was only doing her job. Sacking her would only be offering up a sacrificial lamb, it's the whole culture of the department that's in question and that's what needs to be addressed. If she loses her job she should not be the only one to do so.
Bill, UK

Jo Moore's interview this evening was delivered as "I'm sorry I was naughty and I won't do it again, it's just that I'm a silly girlie and I didn't even know it was wrong." I can't judge her actions, but she deserves to be unemployed simply on the basis of her apology.
Mike Hoffman, UK

We have an apology for 'sending a memo', we have not had an apology for the sentiments contained within that memo. Until a sincere apology for the actual mindset and ramifications of the comments contained within that memo, I for one will not be satisfied. The problem is of course, that such an apology would necessarily involve colleagues and seniority (our representatives in parliament) in accepting, or worse, requiring such methods. I would wish for this form of apology but sadly do not expect one.
Ivan, England

The best thing to do is ask her to leave

Gavin Pearson, Detroit, USA
I would like to have well-intentioned people in her position who wouldn't even dream of making capital from such a ghastly situation. The best thing to do is ask her to leave, and if that doesn't work then fire her.
Gavin Pearson, Detroit, USA

How are we to believe journalists are objective about this issue when they plaster the derogatory term "Spin Doctor" on the headline? There are many individuals surrounded by controversy who are spared the pain of media attention when something more news-worthy happens. It may not be fair or just, but it's true.
Troy Scott, USA

I have been a member of the Labour Party since 1983 and I agree with Gerald Kaufman's view (expressed on last week's 'Question Time') that Jo Moore should go, on the grounds that we are entitled to expect more of high-profile public servants.
Robert Crosby, Nottingham, UK

What is the problem? Ms Moore's "cynicism" is the same as that of commercial companies who after the attacks withdrew advertisements showing the WTC, fearing that sales might be harmed.
Peter, Netherlands

A typical spin doctor; not an ounce of humanity in them. We have seen in the past, that they will twist and distort, lie and bluff. This is their job, so why the big hoo-hah? Surely we have come to expect this kind of thing, but also we have come to expect them to go, as well. There is no point in trying to apologise, because no one is going to believe you. Resign, wait a bit, and the government will probably give you a job as senior press officer in a couple of years.
Graham, UK

At the time I was trying desperately to find out where my wife was, Jo Moore was busy writing her e-mail

Tim Stahl, New York, USA
After reading about Jo Moore's e-mail, I literally felt sick. She should speak to the many of us who watched in horror as the towers collapsed before our eyes, who saw the thousands heading up Broadway covered in debris, who breathed in the smoke, and ash and yes, burnt flesh. On September 11th, I felt pain like I have never known as I waited for hours to find out if my wife, who was under the World Trade Center when the attack occurred, was safe. Fortunately, she was. But at the time I was trying desperately to find out where my wife was, Jo Moore was busy writing her e-mail about burying "bad news".

Perhaps she should explain that e-mail to those who were not as fortunate as I and who spent days and weeks walking from hospital to hospital searching for the family member who will never come home. To call this bad judgment is such an understatement that I can't believe anyone can say that and look themselves in the mirror. I, for one, don't believe a word of her apology and feel she is just trying to "spin" her way out of this. I also wonder if she has an ounce of humanity in her. We should all pray that she finds some.
Tim Stahl, New York, USA

Her usefulness to Byers and the government has diminished

Rich Thomas, Sweden/UK
For one of the Government's top advisors she showed, at least in this and one or two other recent incidents, very poor timing, ability and media skills. Since she has become so visible as a spin doctor, it's likely that the media will view her future "spinning" with much more distrust. So her usefulness to Byers and the government has diminished, if not vanished entirely.
Rich Thomas, Sweden/UK

"Spin doctor" means "liar" to normal people. She needs to go.
A. Brooks, USA

What is more sick is that people are pretending this is uncommon practice. It appears some people who have cases to answer see fit to join in the verbal mob-lashing Jo Moore has endured. I say look in the mirror and ask yourselves what you see.
Ronan Quinn, Ireland

I pray that she has learned a valuable lesson

Jim Baker, United States of America
It is refreshing, in these days that are popular to blame someone else, to see that Ms Moore is accepting the consequences of her initial reaction. I would, however, think that someone in her position would have a little more consideration for those who lost their lives in this terrorist action. There were some British citizens in the building as well; but even if that were not so, she did not use much restraint. I can never think of any statement by an official of this country, or even a citizen, that would have been that tactless upon hearing of terrorist activities in England. I forgive her, and also pray that she has learned a valuable lesson.
Jim Baker, United States of America

Miss Moore should resign immediately. She has shown that her judgement is suspect and therefore not fit to advise a minister. Her total credibility has disappeared. By staying, she neither gives her minister any credence nor herself any respect. She should show the country respect by going.
Alexis Dogilewski, England

UK citizens should be concerned about the Terror Memo scandal. It is unthinkable that an aide (Spin Doctor) to a member of Tony Blair's Cabinet, the Transport Secretary Stephen Byers, should get away with making such comments about 9/11. A doe-eyed apology will not wash. The responsibility should fall ultimately with Byers. The tone of the apology was a disgrace to the profession of Spin itself, not mentioning the real victims of the hurt she has inflicted, those who perished in the WTC.

However, it's not only hurt that has been felt but - possibly more serious for Moore and Byers - smashed public confidence in their abilities to operate within government. What sort of signals is Tony Blair sending to the UK and the rest of the world about the operational state of his government, in light of the recent pledges by him to set up a "broad-based government" in Afghanistan? I would pity the Afghan people even more if they had a Moore and a Byers in their new government - that's if it ever happens.
Steve, UK

Jo Moore should be sacked

Steven Hanwell, England, UK
I watched the second attack on the World Trade Centre live. I had money invested in shares yet I didn't bother to sell them as I couldn't think of my money when such a dreadful attack had just taken place. Jo Moore should be sacked and if Stephen Byers doesn't sack her then he should go as well.
Steven Hanwell, England, UK

I have an idea for a suitable punishment. Put her on a plane to New York. Make her meet face to face with the families of each and every one of those who died in the WTC attack. Then after that, take her to Washington to meet the relatives of those who died in the Pentagon attack. If she's still alive after the experience, she can have her job back.
David Moran, Scotland/Australia

I suspect that the reason Jo Moore wasn't sacked is that she would then be free to tell us a lot more about what tactics the Government uses to manage news.
Andy Richards, UK

Jo Moore was not guilty of a lack of judgement but a lack of common humanity. It is Stephen Byers who is guilty of a lack of judgement in his failure to appreciate this. This makes me question his fitness for high public office.
Dr Julian Sanger, UK

It proves that she follows her job description to the letter. Why should private advice be tactful?

Was Ms Moore being extremely cynical, or extremely stupid?

Henry Case, UK
Was Ms Moore being extremely cynical, or extremely stupid? It doesn't matter. Stephen Byers apparently accepts neither as a valid reason why she shouldn't continue to shovel loads of taxpayers' lovely money into her bank account as a "special adviser" to his department. Hang on - aren't we paying his salary, as well as hers?
Henry Case, UK

What a wonderful revelation! The more, these gaffes (read truths) that come to light, the better chance the sheep will have to understand how corrupt our political system is. Deviousness like this is welcomed to open the eyes of the blind and enact a change in favour of truth however damaging. Some hope.
Derek, UK

My advice - question everything you are told, and think about the other side of the argument

Why anyone is surprised by this episode I do not know! This Government is obsessed by media management, and unfortunately most media outlets seem to play along, probably for fear of not getting any more big interviews if they upset Number 10. My advice - question everything you are told, and think about the other side of the argument. Nothing is ever as clear cut as it is presented to us.

To me her apology was a bit like saying "Sorry for revealing the fact that I am a cynical, cold hearted, calculating sort of person" and as such I think it is a disgrace that she is allowed to continue to work in her post.
Tony Parsons, UK

It was gross insensitivity

Christine Gallacher, UK
I personally think that Jo Moore should be sacked. Whether we like it our not our e-mails are in the public domain if we are a politician. It was gross insensitivity. I also think that if a crisis of this nature happens all medias, even though these matters need blanket covering, should make sure that all the news covering the issues that are still affecting our everyday life should not be buried under a constant repeating of the crisis new story.
Christine Gallacher, UK

By failing to sack her, Labour have just proved to the public that they approve of her behaviour.
Phillip Porteous, Cumbria

Jo Moore's email is not that appalling; what is depressing is reading between the lines; that assiduous 18 hours a day enthusiasm to try and aid the cause.
Richard, England

Thanks are in order to whoever leaked this story because it gives us a glimpse at what a nasty nest of vipers our politicians really are. What we should be asking is, who created these kinds of jobs in the first place; who trains these people to think this way? It may be your job Ms Moore but callin' it your job don't make it right.
Luke, UK

Her mistake or misfortune was simply what every leading politicians was thinking

U Weber, Singapore
What Jo Moore did was not particularly abhorrent and demanding her to step down sounds to me like double-dealing. Her mistake or misfortune was simply what every leading politicians was thinking. What other explanation do we have for Mr Blair now running around profiling himself as the defender of the free world? The British economy and society already faced more serious derailments than Railtrack or the futile privatisation of public services. Northern Ireland is still a hotspot where religious fanaticism sparked from social injustice prevails.

The British health system seems no longer to deliver what it has been designed for and guardians can starve and fustigate their children to death without anyone caring. Mr Blair has nothing better to do than bury this bad news under the shock of an "attack on our western civilisation". Now the hero, whose media star was already fading, can re-profile himself as the saviour of a civilisation. Instead of burying bad news amid the outrage over the attacks and playing world police, elected politicians should address the country's misery caused by their and their predecessors irresponsible governance.
U Weber, Singapore

The only thing she is sorry about was getting caught.

As John Lennon said: "I'm sick to death of hearing things from neurotic psychotic paranoid politicians, all I want is the truth, just give me some truth". Pigs might fly.
Toby, UK

It is disgusting to see how twisted a person's mind can work while striving for a career.
Van Meenen Jan, Belgium

This isn't about Ms Moore at all. She was expertly "fitted up", and a tiny bit of spin-filth released. A spinner was spun. We should expose the rest of this political slime before it takes over. As it has in France, where it's an art form.
Stephen Nelson, France

Does not the PM consider this to be a security risk, given the present climate?

Steve Thompson, England
Yes, she probably did use the wrong phrase in what she said. But, as has been pointed out by others, she was doing her job. What does concern me is that there is someone in a government post that is leaking this information. Does not the PM consider this to be a security risk, given the present climate? Goodness knows what other information this person is privy to, and could pass on to other organisations.
Steve Thompson, England

PR advisors such as Jo Moore should not be paid out of the public purse but should be paid by New Labour. They provide no assistance to the government: merely to the party in government, so, yes, she should be sacked. I'm sure New Labour would be delighted to pick up the tab for such a dedicated worker.
John Denham, UK

There are public servants who are paid to keep their heads and reach appropriate judgements in the most difficult of circumstances. However, Jo Moore isn't one of them. She is a spin doctor in a minor Government department. Whether or not details of councillors' expenses were released on 11 September did not bear any relationship to the events in New York.

Jo Moore wasn't doing her job and she certainly wasn't acting with any sort of basic human compassion. Far from being professional, her actions were callous and unbecoming for any public servant. The fact that she hasn't already been sacked is utterly scandalous.
Paul Jemetta, UK

Put simply, she should be sacked and so should the person who leaked the story.

D Watts, UK
Put simply, she should be sacked and so should the person who leaked the story.
D Watts, UK

You either have spin doctors or you don't. Their job is to trick the public, their very existence should be in question and not how well they do their job.
Mike, UK

This will serve as quite a timely reminder to people that they can never just take news at face value. Surely people already understand the games played out in and with our media. The shock horror reactions in this line merely reflect the uncritical way some people consume their daily doses of news.
Eoin, UK

At a time when all decent people were wringing their hands in despair and revulsion a cold, calculating civil servant practiced the lowest form of political opportunism. A loathsome and unforgiveable act against a background of so much suffering.
Greg, UK

She has robbed her own "apology" of any meaning

Rory, UK
Jo Moore is quoted as saying: "I would like to sincerely apologise for the offence I have caused. It was wrong to send the e-mail and I accept responsibility for doing so." The only way to accept responsibility is by doing the honourable thing and resigning. By not doing so she has robbed her own "apology" of any meaning.
Rory, UK

"Poor girl", "only doing her job", "simple mistake" - Ms Moore is not some wet behind the ears school-leaver, she is ruthless New Labour through and through. She was the architect of her job and believed what she did was correct. We may be appalled, but I doubt that in the inner sanctum of the New Labour project anyone really batted an eyelid
Philip, UK

Stephen Byers has 'reprimanded' her now, but only AFTER he acted on her advice and slipped the councillors expenses item out. They should both resign, but don't hold your breath....
David H, Scotland, Scotland

"burying bad news" is EXACTLY what the Government has attempted to do over the past few weeks

Guy Morrison, England
Jo Moore's leaked email may well shock many, but it shows to what extent Blair's team will go to "use" any situation to work to their advantage. The full horror of the unfolding events must have been evident to any intelligent person watching the TV news, yet she was cold-blooded enough to calmly send that email.

However, what is REALLY scary is that events have shown that, even with the benefit of hindsight and the time to reflect on the events of 11th September, "burying bad news" is EXACTLY what the Government has attempted to do over the past few weeks. It seems that her boss Stephen Byers might be beginning to regret taking her advice, as the Railtrack fiasco (launched with the most cynical of timing) is now looking like being his nemisis.
Guy Morrison, England

The Press and Media should have a long hard look at themselves after this. Why? She's basically correct. The reporting of other closer to home important issues has been almost completely ignored due to 'the 11th events'. Why? Populist, lazy reporting that bears no relation to 'journalism'.
Scott Joseph, Scotland

If she wasn't discovered would it make it any less wrong?

Tony, UK
To the people who are saying 'Her crime was to be found out', can I ask if she wasn't discovered would it make it any less wrong? Or is it okay to commit murder as no one finds out? And isn't all the whining from Alastair Campbell about Kate Adie designed to obscure the Dirty Dealing of Jo Moore, Tony Blair and Stephen Byers?
Tony, UK

This incident clearly shows the deep amorality of the current government, when compared with the shining standards of the last one, under which, according to a letter from an ex-civil servant from the Government Information Service printed in Wednesday's Guardian, the Chief Press Officer instructed all staff to get any 'bad' news published urgently under cover of the Dunblane shootings. This is nothing new, no new depths are being plumbed, it's just business as usual, sadly.
Thomas Vaughan, UK

We need to know the truth about what is going on in this country and the world. Spin doctors and the media are obscuring the truth. We must rein in the media machine before it manipulates us any further.
Russ, UK

This isn't about offending the US or peoples sensibilities about the disaster. This is about the fact that our government feels the need to hide and push things through when everything should be open to the public and not sneaked around.
Paul Charters, England

It takes a particular kind of person to be able to function at that time on such an inhuman level

Gus swan, UK
On the day of the attack everyone in my office was transfixed, shocked in front of the television. It takes a particular kind of person to be able to function at that time on such an inhuman level, regardless of what people think her 'job' is. Actually, she is employed as a form of civil servant and paid for by us, so her job should not be to pervert the flow of information from government. I'm sure her apology was an equally cynical way of hanging onto her job and she does not feel a shred of remorse. My question is, which particular talents of hers does Stephan Byers believe are so indispensable?
Gus swan, UK

Could we expect anything else from a government that brought Peter Mandelson back after he was caught lying?
Philip, Essex

Like all things that ALL GOVERNMENTS DO, the e-mail from Jo Moore just shows how much further this government will go. She has been reprimanded for being caught out. She could hardly be reprimanded for anything else having learnt her tricks from her political masters.
R Nuttall, UK

As Ms Moore's job is based on `news management` then she was doing her job. The real crime is that the job exists in the first place.
Chris, UK

Surely the real piece of insensitivity was in leaking it to the press

Bill, UK
It sounded like a joke to me. I notice the only thing she mentioned that should be buried were "councillor's expenses", a popular butt of many jokes in government and council offices the world over. Perhaps it was in poor taste but surely the real piece of insensitivity was in leaking it to the press who then published it so those for whom it was never intended could be offended by it.
Bill, UK

Could I point out that as an individual in her own right, she should be so embarrassed by her action that she would resign, no matter as an employee of the taxpayer. Furthermore why do we need to pay for people like this when the money should be spent on the NHS?
Simon Hardy, UK

I am only amazed that she felt that the Government needed reminding that it was a good time to bury bad news. After all it has worked like this for years
Gill, UK

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See also:

17 Oct 01 | UK Politics
Spin doctor should quit - colleague
16 Oct 01 | UK Politics
Terror memo aide breaks cover
10 Oct 01 | UK Politics
Aide apologises for 'attacks memo'
13 Mar 01 | UK Politics
Spinning out of control
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