Conservative Nadine Dorries today issued libel writs against former Downing Street spin doctor Damian McBride and Labour activist Derek Draper, who together over email planned to smear her private life.
McBride, who was Gordon Brown's press chief, suggested Draper should publish allegations that Dorries had an affair with a fellow MP on a political gossip blog he was planning.
The proposed "Red Rag" site, for which McBride suggested several false smears against prominent Tories, was never launched.
The offending emails were however obtained by the blogger Paul Staines - aka Guido Fawkes - and extracts published in national newspapers. Staines this morning delivered Dorries' writ to McBride in his new job at his former Catholic secondary school in north London.
The writ against Draper was served on his TV presenter wife Kate Garraway by another right wing blogger, Tory Bear.
The legal actions raise the potential for a High Court showdown between Dorries and her would-be accusers, who have kept low profiles since they were exposed.
It's widely reported that Dorries, who strenuously denies any affair, will also sue the Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell, who is responsible for the civil service. McBride was a special adviser to the Prime Minister; a controversial job that blends party politics with the traditionally impartial civil service role.
Following the exposure of the emails, Gordon Brown apologised to Dorries in Parliament and in writing. He denied any knowledge of the plot. ®