It is with great sadness that I have tonight resigned as a member of the PoliticsHome panel. I was a founder associate editor of the site and I think Freddie Sayers and his team should be proud of everything they have achieved. It has become the first port of call for anyone with an interest in Westminster politics.
But following reports of the purchase of a majority stake in the site by the Conservative Party's vice-chairman Lord Ashcroft, Andrew Rawnsley resigned as Editor-in-Chief and it is no longer possible to vouch for the independence of the site or the balance of the panel.
Tom Watson MP has written about this and re-published Andrew's statement.
When the site was set up, I was responsible for recruiting the left-leaning members of the panel. As Sunder Katwala of the Fabian Society has pointed out tonight, I was clear at the time that the site was owned by the Tory-owned, but assured panel members that Andrew and I would act as left-liberal ballast.
Some of those I recruited have signed a statement on Liberal Conspiracy and I am sure others will follow overnight.
If I had known in advance of the purchase I would certainly have informed them and encouraged them to resign from the panel. i can only apologise to them for the way things have turned out.