SOS Madeleine McCann 19/01/2010
Clarence Mitchell, the communications expert who has acted as spokesperson for Kate and Gerry McCann since Maddie's disappearance, informed the couple of the risk, in terms of image, which could be presented by their presence in the courtroom at Lisbon's Civil Court, where the process relating to the injunction banning the sale of Gonçalo Amaral's book took place.
According to a source close to Clarence Mitchell, the communications specialist warned Kate and Gerry McCann that their presence in court would encourage the British media to descend en masse on Lisbon, which could lead to the disclosure in England of arguments presented by the defence for the former PJ coordinator, which was the case.
Live updates from television companies (British, Spanish and Portuguses) during the first day of the hearing, and front pages of British newspapers the following day, ended up confirming Clarence Mitchell's fears that the couple's presence would only cause more problems. (Shown above: the front page of the Daily Express on Wednesday morning with the headline, "MADDIE 'DIED' IN APARTMENT.")
Clarence Mitchell: spokesman looks to become an MP.
According to the same source, Clarence Mitchell maintains an amicable relationship with Madeleine McCann's parents, but he is no longer as available to participate in the McCanns' actions. He was conspicuously absent from the media machine covering Kate and Gerry McCann's presence in Lisbon, forcing Claudia Nogueira, Public Relations officer for Lift Consulting - the Portuguese company supporting the couple's campaign - to increase contact and information-sharing with the journalists attending the court (patiently available, she took care to speak to all the journalists one by one). She incidentally denied that her British counterpart was opposed to Madeleine's parents' journey.
Lift Consulting is a strategic consulting company, working in the areas of communication, reputation management, public relations and management of relations with the press.
Clarence Mitchell's lack of availability, according to the same source, is explained by his professional and political obligations - the spokesman for Madeleine's parents is planning for his entry into the British parliament at the next elections as a Conservative MP.
A former journalist, he left the ranks of the BBC to direct the Media Monitoring Unit in Tony Blair's government (first Prime Minister to help the McCanns) Clarence Mitchell was the driving force of the McCanns' campaign and link between the couple and the two Labour Prime Ministers. (Labour Party)
Sent to Portugal at the request of Tony Blair, Mitchell directed the international campaign for Maddie's parents, using his official contacts in the British government to gain access for Kate and Gerry to, amongst other places, the Vatican and the European Parliament.
By Duarte Levy
Originally published in the Portuguese blog on 17/01/2010.