Patrick Gower: Bill English in shutdown mode over Todd Barclay texts

OPINION: Bill English was in "shutdown mode" on Monday over the Todd Barclay question.

Glenys Dickson was English's electorate secretary for years. When Barclay took over in Clutha-Southland, they fell out - and he secretly recorded her.

English has always publicly maintained he knew next to nothing about it, previously describing his role as a "bystander".

But why did he send more than 450 text messages to Dickson in the year before she quit?

Some of them were late at night, even at 1:25am. There were 22 messages the day before she quit, and 25 the week after - all this from a "bystander".

English says he sometimes sends people texts as late as 1:00am, "because sometimes that's when I can get a hold of them".

Asked why he sent so many texts to Dickson, he said: "All the commentary that can be made on that's been made I think."

When asked why he sent 25 texts in the week after she quit, he said: "This has all been covered, and it's subject to another police investigation.

"I don't count up who's texted what where. I just communicate effectively to achieve what I want to achieve."

Winston Peters claims he's been leaked the text records. He hasn't revealed their contents but says they show English was orchestrating a takedown of Barclay.

"I'm just telling you that the Prime Minister was meddling in the operations of another MP's office."

English isn't ruling out that Peters has the texts.

"It's possible. The phone records are in the public arena. I'm not that concerned about it."

The latest Newshub-Reid research poll shows the majority of voters have lost trust in the Prime Minister due to the Barclay scandal.
The latest Newshub-Reid research poll shows the majority of voters have lost trust in the Prime Minister due to the Barclay scandal. Photo credit: Newshub
One third of National voters have lost trust in the PM, and overwhelming majorities of NZ First, Labour and Green voters.
One third of National voters have lost trust in the PM, and overwhelming majorities of NZ First, Labour and Green voters. Photo credit: Newshub

The question now - does Peters have the texts and what do they say?

Why was English texting Dickson at 1:25am?

Patrick Gower is Newshub's political editor.

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