Rupert Murdoch tells Mr Jay:
“If you want to judge my thinking look at the Sun.”
Despite the news that the UK is officially back in recession, the slump in GDP and year on year surge in this month’s Public Sector Borrowing figures have been padded by a fall in inflation and an 35,000 drop in unemployment. Due to this, we are slightly less unhappy this month. The figure is almost identical to this time last year…
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UK GDP fell -0.2% in Q1 2012. Ouch…
So the fightback begins, and not just from Hunt, who quite fairly wants his day in court. The statement he put out last night claimed some of the information was inaccurate and it later emerged the the Permanent Secretary at Culture had given permission for Hunt SpAd Adam Smith to hand hold BSkyB through the bid. Guido doubts that permission would have extended to accurate pre-parliament tip-offs though…
The other man kicking back is the spinmeister Fred Michel who has given a less than subtle threat via Iain Martin:
“If a diary of all Fred Michel’s meetings with senior government figures and MPs was to be published at some point, then a lot of well-placed people in the three main parties would feature. Oh, and he’s a neighbour and close friend of Nick Clegg. This could get even messier.”
By the end of Rupert Murdoch’s testimony today we could all be talking about much more than Hunt…
Guido has been talking to a former Office of Fair Trading Principle Case Officer who is not confident Hunt can survive this as it brings into question their whole organisation:
“The first thing with mergers and acquisitions is that it is absolutely key to keep the parties at arms length. The OFT is a non government agency, it has a director general who is above the politics so that the BIS cannot lean on them. In practical terms we all know it happens, but to have it so clearly in writing undermines the whole system. It’s a nightmare for the whole structure of the agency.”
Even if there was no contact with “JH” and the News Corp lobbyist directly, the Culture Secretary’s adviser Adam Smith was obviously communicating heavily and the emails are littered with accurate reports of events before they happened. Direct contact or not, these emails are just two examples of both these key OFT rules being broken.
UPDATE: Hunt’s statement will apparently say that the emails are inaccurate and that he wants to set the record straight on the stand. He seems to be gearing up to play the no direct contact angle. Hard to prove that his office was not acting on his behalf…
Does this sound like a “completely transparent, impartial and fair” process?
UPDATE II: Harman calls for Hunt’s head. Probably buying him some time…
UPDATE III: Hunt’s people kicking back hard. Saying he will defend himself rigorously on his own outing on the stand and has no intention of resigning.[…] Read the rest
Jeremy Hunt told Parliament in March this year: “at every stage of this process we have sought to be completely transparent, impartial and fair.” Apart from that bit where Cable “declared war”.
Labour’s second most famous backer Lord Winston has followed the lead of Alan Sugar and slammed Ken. Talking on the Daily Politics he questioned how the party had managed to select Livingstone. Just a week ago Lord Winston was the face of the Labour Party’s Election Broadcast.[…] Read the rest
James Murdoch has given the British establishment another lesson in mid-Atlantic business speak this morning. The long drawn out discussion has thrown up some interesting snippets so far. Not least was the discussion around a Christmas dinner foolishly attended by the Prime Minister at Rebekah Brooks’ house, which Guido broke a day before the Guardian claimed the scoop.[…] Read the rest
After Guido suggested here last week that it was rather odd that a member of the Labour Party Executive board and deputy Chief of Staff to the leader had managed to breeze into the candidacy for a nominally safe Labour seat, Lucy Powell has resigned from both her roles.[…] Read the rest
Russell Brand has been talking drug legalisation at the Home Affairs Select Committee this morning. On the way out he said “Theresa May’s up next, check she knows what day it is…” That sort of public humiliation for a Home Secretary this close to a reshuffle must be doubly uncomfortable… […] Read the rest
While all eyes are on a different courtroom this morning, the inquest into a the dead spook in a bag has already taken a fiction worthy turn of events. Channel Four reported last night, but have not written up on their website, the evidence submitted to the inquiry by the estate agent who managed the Pimlico pad where Gareth Williams was found dead and locked in a bag, saying it was rented from a company in St Hellier by an unnamed Secretary of State in September 2003.[…] Read the rest