Paul Staines

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Paul Staines
Staines in 2006
Paul De Laire Staines

(1967-02-11) 11 February 1967 (age 57)[1]
Alma materHumberside College of FE
OccupationPolitical blogger
Known forGuido Fawkes
Political partyformerly associated with:
Conservative Party
Social Democratic Party (UK)
Progressive Democrats

Paul De Laire Staines (born 11 February 1967)[1] is a British-Irish right-wing[2][3][4] political blogger who publishes the Guido Fawkes website, which was described by The Daily Telegraph as "one of Britain's leading political blogsites" in 2007.[5] The Sun on Sunday newspaper published a weekly Guido Fawkes column from 2013 to 2016.[6][7] Born and raised in England, Staines holds British and Irish citizenship.

Staines acquired an interest in politics as a libertarian in the 1980s and did public relations for acid house parties in the early 1990s. He then spent several years in finance, first as a broker then as a trader. In 2001, he sued his fund's financial backer in a commercial dispute.[8] Consequently, Staines declared himself bankrupt in October 2003 after two years of litigation, and legal costs on both sides running into hundreds of thousands of pounds.[9]

In September 2004, Staines started publishing his political blog Guido Fawkes.[10] The blog was named after the Spanish name for Guy Fawkes, an English Catholic involved in the failed Gunpowder Plot to assassinate King James I in 1605.[11]

Early life[edit]

Paul De Laire Staines[12][13] was born in Ealing, London, to Irish-born Mary (née Cronin) and Indian-born Terril De Laire Staines.[14][15] Staines' father was a Fabian who went to work for John Lewis because it was a cooperative; he is from Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh. Staines' mother is from a working-class background and grew up in Finglas, Dublin.[16][17]

Staines grew up in Sudbury, London. Raised a Catholic, he attended Salvatorian College Catholic grammar school in Harrow.[14][15] Subsequently, he read business information studies at the Humberside College of Higher Education, but did not complete the course. While a student there Staines wrote to an organiser of the British National Party proposing joint "direct action" to disrupt the meetings of leftwing students.[18][19]

He was a member of the Social Democratic Party, sitting on the national executive of its youth wing,[20] and the Conservative Party.[21] Whilst studying at college in Hull in the 1980s, he was a member of the Federation of Conservative Students.[2]

Staines lives in Ireland[22] and was a member of the now defunct Irish political party, the Progressive Democrats.[23]


Staines is a libertarian who described in a 2000 publication,[24] how he became a libertarian in 1980 after reading Karl Popper's The Open Society and its Enemies. He joined the Young Conservatives whilst at Humberside College of Higher Education, "because they were the only people around who were anti-Socialist or at least anti-Soviet". Having joined the Federation of Conservative Students, he described his politics as "Thatcher on drugs". He relates that at college he was a "right-wing pain in the butt who was more interested in student politics than essays", who went on "to work in the various right-wing pressure groups and think tanks that proliferated in the late eighties". He once said, "I never wore a 'Hang Mandela' badge, but I hung out with people who did".[2]

Staines was active in the Libertarian Alliance. He was pictured at the 1987 Libertarian Alliance conference with a T-shirt supporting UNITA, produced by his Popular Propaganda enterprise (while at college), which produced posters and T-shirts.[25] Staines worked as "foreign policy analyst" for the Committee for a Free Britain, a right-wing Conservative pressure group, alongside David Hart. Staines acted as editor of British Briefing, a long-standing publication by the group that was a "monthly intelligence analysis of the activities of the extreme left" that sought to "smear Labour MPs and left-leaning lawyers and writers".[15]

Staines relates of his work with the committee:

I was lobbying at the Council of Europe and at Parliament; I was over in Washington, in Jo'burg, in South America. It was 'let's get guns for the Contras', that sort of stuff. I was enjoying it immensely, I got to go with these guys and fire off AK-47s. I always like to go where the action is, and for that period in the Reagan/Thatcher days, it was great fun, it was all expenses paid and I got to see the world. I used to think that World Briefing was a bit funny. The only scary thing about those publications was the mailing list – people like George Bush – and the fact that Hart would talk to the head of British Intelligence for an hour. I used to think it was us having a laugh, putting some loony right-wing sell in, and that somebody somewhere was taking it seriously. You've got to understand that we had a sense of humour about this.[15]

In 1989, Staines published In the Grip of the Sandinistas: Human Rights in Nicaragua 1979–1989, under the auspices of the International Society for Human Rights (of which he was UK secretary-general), analysing the Sandinistas in Nicaragua from 1979 to 1989.[26] He was then the editor of a series of papers called the Human Rights Defenders Briefing Papers.[27]

In August 2011, Staines —who writes the political blog Guido Fawkes and heads the Restore Justice Campaign—launched an e-petition on the Downing Street website calling for the restoration of the death penalty for those convicted of the murder of children and police officers.[28] The petition was one of several in support or opposition of capital punishment to be published by the government with the launch of its e-petitions website. Petitions attracting 100,000 signatures would prompt a parliamentary debate on a particular topic, but not necessarily lead to any Parliamentary Bills being put forward.[29] When the petition closed on 4 February 2012 it had received 26,351 signatures in support of restoring capital punishment,[30]

Staines described his political journey in an interview in 2013, "I was "anarcho-capitalist, [then] libertarian, then pragmatic libertarian." He went on to say his ideology was now closer to the Conservatives and UKIP.[16] He supports Brexit.[2] In 2023, the New Statesman named Staines the 39th most powerful right-wing British political figure of the year.[31]

Guido Fawkes[edit]

In September 2004, Staines began writing an anonymous blog about British politics under the name of Guido Fawkes, an alternative name of Guy Fawkes, one of the group that plotted to blow up the Palace of Westminster in 1605.[32] In February 2005, The Guardian reported that the Fawkes blog shared a fax number with Staines.[33] Although he subsequently refused to confirm the links, further media coverage continued to name Staines as Fawkes until the airing of a BBC Radio 4 documentary[34] about him on 10 February 2007, which gave a detailed history and background, and prompted his blog post "So Much for Anonymity".[35]

In 2005, Guido was voted the best in the Political Commentary category of The Backbencher Political Weblog Awards, run by The Guardian. It was not a survey of Guardian readers explicitly, but instead an internet poll linked to the Guido Fawkes website.[36] In May 2006, Staines (as Guido Fawkes) co-authored a book with Iain Dale, which was critical of the Labour Party's practices since taking office in 1997.[37]

In April 2006, Staines was one of numerous bloggers subject to an injunction[38] from News International for publishing a picture of the undercover journalist Mazher Mahmood. Staines agreed to publish[39] the photo if 10 other bloggers would do so.[40] The picture remained on Guido, and, following legal action from George Galloway, was subsequently released into the public domain.[citation needed]

Guido reported the allegation that Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott was having an extramarital affair with an MP. It also named the woman in question, saying that such rumours had long been shared among Westminster journalists, but that the blog was being less hypocritical and breaking the clique by refusing to cover up such stories.[41] The coverage of the Prescott affair drew considerable extra traffic to Staines's blog.[42]

He was named at number 36 in the "Top 50 newsmakers of 2006" in The Independent,[43] for his blog, and his role in the Prescott scandal in particular. In 2011 GQ ranked him, alongside co-author Harry Cole, jointly at number 28 in the magazine's list of the 100 Most Influential Men in Britain.[44]

Staines encourages readers to forward political documents and information, which he publishes on his blog. One such leak was a strategy document for the Peter Hain for Deputy Leader of the Labour Party campaign. This leak caused embarrassment to Hain's campaign[45] as it included information on MPs who had not gone public with their support, as well as others who were supposed to be independent.

"Tottywatch"[46] is an irregular feature that comprises pictures of attendees at political events. Although the pictures are of both men and women, the majority are of attractive young women. Staines' wife is referred to as Mrs Fawkes and his daughters as Miss Fawkes and Ms Fawkes. On Monday mornings, the blog features a Monday Morning Point of View cartoon by "Rich&Mark", cartoonist Rich Johnston, archived at the RichAndMark website.[47]

In 2012, RTÉ Radio 1 broadcast a documentary about Staines, Our Man in Westminster, as part of its Documentary on One series.[48]

Vote Leave employee Tom Harwood was hired as a Guido reporter in July 2018;[49] he left in 2021 to join GB News.[50]

Staines has said that Steve Bannon, a former senior adviser [51] to Donald Trump and head of Breitbart News, once tried to buy Guido.[52] "That fell through over price," Staines told Press Gazette. "I never could work out whether we were talking dollars or sterling".[53]

Criminal convictions[edit]

Staines has four alcohol-related convictions [1] In 2002, Staines was banned from driving for 12 months for drink driving.[54] When he was convicted of the same offence six years later, he was asked in court by District Judge Timothy Stone whether he had an alcohol problem and replied: "Possibly." He was banned from driving for three years, as well as being given an 18-month supervision order and wearing an electronic tag for three months.[55][54]

Business interests[edit]

In 2006, Staines, along with Jag Singh, co-founded MessageSpace, a digital advertising agency which operates an advertising network representing dozens of leading political websites. In 2012, it advised the successful Boris Johnson London mayoral campaign. Private Eye reported in June 2012 that MessageSpace was advising the Russian Embassy in London on using social media.[56]

Global & General Nominees Limited (GGN) publishes the Guido Fawkes website, and is based in the tax haven of Saint Kitts and Nevis. Staines describes himself as an "adviser" to GGN, and stated that the company is based in Saint Kitts and Nevis as a "litigation shield".[57][58]

Personal life[edit]

Staines is married to Orla, a solicitor who works for an investment bank in the City of London. They have two daughters.[1][55] Staines and his family also hold Irish citizenship.[17]


  1. ^ a b c d "Paul Staines: The worm of Westminster". The Independent. Archived from the original on 3 April 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d Perkins, Anne (7 April 2018). "Guido Fawkes: a cross between a comic and a propaganda machine". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 7 August 2020. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  3. ^ "The Most Feared Man In Westminster". Esquire. 31 July 2014. Archived from the original on 2 August 2022. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  4. ^ Edemariam, Aida (15 February 2013). "Blogger Guido Fawkes, aka Paul Staines: 'I still hate politicians'". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 1 July 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  5. ^ Graeme Wilson and Brendan Carlin. Focus on Labour website in peerage row Archived 12 June 2018 at the Wayback Machine. The Daily Telegraph; retrieved 31 January 2007.
  6. ^ Aida Edemariam (15 February 2013). "Blogger Guido Fawkes, aka Paul Staines: 'I still hate politicians'". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 7 May 2017. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  7. ^ Turvill, William (2 February 2016). "Guido Fawkes Sun column ends, but editor Paul Staines says: 'The appetite for political scandal is back'". Press Gazette. Archived from the original on 5 June 2019. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  8. ^ "Sprecher Grier Halberstam Llp & Anor v Walsh [2008] EWCA Civ 1324 (3 December 2008)". Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
  9. ^ "No. 57079". The London Gazette. 9 October 2003. p. 12536.
  10. ^ Fawkes, Guido (30 September 2004). "Blair Heart Flutters". Guido Fawkes. Archived from the original on 6 November 2013. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  11. ^ "Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot Who was the man behind the mask?". Historic Royal Palaces. Archived from the original on 29 July 2022. Retrieved 2 August 2022.
  12. ^ "Leveson Inquiry Submission – Paul De Laire Staines" (PDF). National Archives. Archived from the original on 22 January 2014. Retrieved 7 November 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  13. ^ @GuidoFawkes (12 May 2015). "@EmmaKennedy @RyanDevlin_ its Paul de Laire Staines actually daaahling" (Tweet). Retrieved 21 May 2016 – via Twitter.
  14. ^ a b "2 Little Inventors Montessori Nurseries". Archived from the original on 18 February 2016. Retrieved 7 November 2021.
  15. ^ a b c d Collin, Matthew; Godfrey, John (1998). Altered State: The Story of Ecstasy Culture and Acid House (2n ed.). London: Serpent's Tail. ISBN 978-1-85242-604-0.—Staines features in this book written by Collin, the ex-editor of UK trend bible i-D magazine.
  16. ^ a b Edemariam, Aida (15 February 2013). "Blogger Guido Fawkes, aka Paul Staines: 'I still hate politicians'". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 8 April 2018. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  17. ^ a b Fitzpatrick, Richard (24 August 2012). "Every Blog has its day". Irish Examiner. Archived from the original on 27 July 2020. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
  18. ^ Smith, Edwin (31 July 2014). "Guido Fawkes: "The Lying In Politics Is On An Industrial Scale"". Esquire. Archived from the original on 7 March 2017. Retrieved 7 March 2017.
  19. ^ Rose, David (31 May 1986). "Tory student leader in 'racist' party link". The Guardian. p. 28. ProQuest 186616484.
  20. ^ "Outed". Guido Fawkes. Archived from the original on 14 April 2009.
  21. ^ "Hughes : It's a Straight Serious Choice". Guido Fawkes. 8 February 2006. Archived from the original on 14 May 2007. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
  22. ^ "My Life in Media:Guido Fawkes". The Independent. London. 5 November 2007. Archived from the original on 8 January 2008. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  23. ^ "Hung Parliament : LDs Should Learn from the PDs". Guido Fawkes. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 2 November 2007.
  24. ^ Paul D. Staines (September 2000). "A Kinder, Gentler, Kind of Libertarianism: Reflections on Two Decades of Libertarianism" (PDF). Free Life (37). Libertarian Alliance: 8. ISSN 0260-5112. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 June 2009. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
  25. ^ "Libertarian Alliance". 31 January 2002. Archived from the original on 31 January 2002. Retrieved 7 November 2021.
  26. ^ In the Grip of the Sandinistas: Human Rights in Nicaragua 1979–1989 at Google Books
  27. ^ Bainbridge, Luke (10 February 2014). The True Story of Acid House: Britain's Last Youth Culture Revolution. Omnibus Press. p. 294. ISBN 9780857128638. Archived from the original on 2 August 2022. Retrieved 2 August 2022.
  28. ^ Cafe, Rebecca (4 August 2011). "Does the public want the death penalty brought back?". BBC News.
  29. ^ "E-petitions urge MPs to debate return of death penalty". BBC News. 4 August 2011.
  30. ^ Restore Capital Punishment Archived 3 February 2013 at the Wayback Machine,
  31. ^ Statesman, New (27 September 2023). "The New Statesman's right power list". New Statesman. Retrieved 14 December 2023.
  32. ^ "Guido Fawkes". Blogger. Retrieved 1 June 2006.
  33. ^ "Who you gonna call?". The Guardian. London. 2 February 2005. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  34. ^ "BBC – Radio 4 – Profile – 10 February 2007". BBC. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
  35. ^ "So Much For Anonymity". 12 February 2007. Archived from the original on 27 April 2007.
  36. ^ "The Backbencher Political Weblog Awards: Help choose the winning blogs". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 1 June 2006.
  37. ^ Dale, Iain; Fawkes, Guido (2006). The Little Red Book of New Labour Sleaze. Politico's Media. ISBN 978-1-904734-16-1.
  38. ^ "Murdoch on warpath". Independent on Sunday. 2 February 2008. Archived from the original on 2 February 2008.
  39. ^ "Sheikh It Up Baby". Archived from the original on 28 September 2007.
  40. ^ "I will publish a picture of Mazher Mahmood a.k.a. the Fake Sheikh". PledgeBank. 7 April 2006. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
  41. ^ "Fawkes plots to blow up 'cosy' political reporting". Press Gazette. 14 July 2006. Archived from the original on 19 August 2008. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
  42. ^ "Heather Hopkins – UK: Guido Fawkes – Fair and Balanced". Hitwise Intelligence. 11 July 2006. Archived from the original on 21 June 2010. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
  43. ^ "The top 50 newsmakers of 2006". The Independent. London. 18 December 2006. Archived from the original on 1 December 2007. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
  44. ^ "GQ Give Guido Oxygen of Publicity". Guido Fawkes. 28 November 2011.
  45. ^ "Leaked paper threatens to derail Hain's ambitions". WalesOnline. 31 January 2007.
  46. ^ "totty watch".
  47. ^ "RichAndMark.Com". RichAndMark.Com. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
  48. ^ O'Connell, Brian. "Our Man in Westminster". RTÉ Radio. Doc on One. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  49. ^ Mayhew, Freddy (25 July 2018). "Guido Fawkes hires young Vote Leave talent and looks to boost video output on political blog site". Press Gazette. Retrieved 26 February 2021.
  50. ^ "Tom Harwood, Darren McCaffrey join GB News team". Sports Mole. Retrieved 26 February 2021.
  51. ^ "Disclosures – The White House". Retrieved 7 April 2024.
  52. ^ Bright, Sam (24 February 2021). "Alt-Right Ecosystem: Steve Bannon Tried to Buy Guido Fawkes". Byline Times. Retrieved 25 February 2021.
  53. ^ Turvill, William (24 February 2021). "Guido Fawkes owner Paul Staines on how the site makes money". Press Gazette. Retrieved 25 February 2021.
  54. ^ a b Duff, Oliver (30 April 2008). "Blogger 'Guido Fawkes' is led off to the Tower". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 25 May 2022. Retrieved 16 September 2008.
  55. ^ a b Rayner, Gordon (17 April 2009). "Guido Fawkes: the colourful life of the man who brought down Damian McBride". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 6 April 2018. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
  56. ^ "Russian Embassy Using Social Media to Explain Foreign Policy". MessageSpace. 8 June 2012. Archived from the original on 21 September 2012. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  57. ^ Rayner, Gordon (17 April 2009). "Guido Fawkes: the colourful life of the man who brought down Damian McBride". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 18 May 2012. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  58. ^ Beckett, Andrew (4 November 2009). "Guido Fawkes: The blogger who knows the power of gossip". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 5 November 2021. Retrieved 2 August 2022.

Further reading[edit]