Last week I suggested that in August David Blunkett leaked news of his affair with Kimberly Quinn to the News of the World. My reason for doing so was not that I wished to champion Kimberly Quinn, who happens to be publisher of this magazine. I simply could see no other explanation. Mrs Quinn’s supporters passionately believed that Mr Blunkett did ‘kiss and tell’, and the strength of their belief was such that it was impossible to think (and remains so) that Mrs Quinn herself was the secret conduit. If she was not, who could it be other than Mr Blunkett, who had been dumped by Mrs Quinn, and had the motive of vengeance?
On Friday 13 August Andy Coulson, editor of the News of the World, interviewed Mr Blunkett in Sheffield at 10 o’clock in the morning. Two days later the newspaper publicised Mr Blunkett’s affair, though without naming Mrs Quinn. (The Sun did so the following day.) The Home Secretary taped this interview, seemingly with Mr Coulson’s knowledge. I have obtained what appears to be a complete transcript of their meeting. It shows that, at any rate on this occasion, Mr Blunkett did not leak anything to the News of the World. Throughout the interview Mr Blunkett maintains that his private life is his own business, and he will not discuss it with anyone. Towards the end of the meeting he comes close to making an unintentional admission that he has had an affair with Mrs Quinn, but by no stretch of imagination could this slip be represented as a ‘kiss and tell’.
Mr Coulson’s attitude during the interview is that of the reluctant executioner who is certain of his facts.