Men In Tights Skirt Around Issue

The men in tights at the Commons have come up with a solution to stop our elected Members beating each other up in drunken rages:

· a wider range of non-alcoholic drinks and lower strength beers will be provided in catering outlets
· staff serving alcohol would receive further training and support in refusing to serve customers when necessary
· at receptions and events where alcohol was served, glasses would be topped up less frequently

Guido has a better idea. Just remove the £5 million annual subsidy…

WATCH: Watson Dodges Questions on Committee Leak

Fearless campaigner for transparency Tom Watson signed a commercial contract with a Allen Lane to co-write a book that will generate earnings, but he has not declared this contract to Parliament. Since the book’s subject matter relates directly to his work as a member of the Culture Select Committee, this lack of transparency is doubly odd. Watson is profiting while quoting Bob Dylan and grandstanding on the Committee…

When Guido raised this earlier Watson went on the attack, forcing the Chairman of the Committee to rein him in. One thing for was clear – Watson didn’t want to talk about it:

Dial M for Murdoch came out well before today’s report, yet page 312 explicitly states that the Committee would find that News International had misled Parliament – it was a leak from a position of privilege with commercial implications. John Whittingdale, the Committee chairman, said he did not know of any breach committed by Watson – well now he does. Not only has Watson undermined Parliament, but he did so to line his pockets. A fit person for the committee?

Dial S for Special Access 
Watson Revealed Committee Findings In Book

Given that the Culture Select Committee report into phonehacking is months overdue, Guido has popped along to their press conference to ask whether the Committee had any objections to one of their members – Tom Watson – publishing his own version of events last week for commercial gain.

Guido wonders whether any of the Select Committee raised objections to Watson publishing his weighty tome “Dial M for Murdoch” before today’s report was finalised, and what assurances the Chairman had sought that Watson would not take advantage of his privileged access to the Committee, especially as the conclusions of the report – that News International executives mislead parliament – is revealed on Page 312 of the book. Answers to follow, hopefully…

UPDATE:

Guido seems to have hit a nerve, instead of replying, Watson went on the attack. The Chairman said most of the infomation was public, but that does not explain Watson revealing that the Committee would rule NI mislead Parliament. It makes a mockery of Parliament as Christ Bryant might say…

Media Committee: Clears James Murdoch of Misleading Them
Executives Crone, Hinton, Myler Gave Misleading Testimony

On the specific point of misleading the DCMS committee James Murdoch is cleared. The report, on the basis of party political split vote, does however claim that Rupert Murdoch is “not a fit person” to exercise stewardship of a major international company and that James Murdoch showed “wilful ignorance” of the extent of phone hacking during 2009 and 2010. Tory members of the committee are basically saying Watson went over the top and they could not give  unanimous backing to the report.

Download the full report here.

Chris Huhne and Vicky Pryce to Enter Pleas Next Month
Carina Admits to High Court Invading Privacy

Reports suggest that Chris Huhne and Vicky Pryce will enter their pleas to charges of perverting the course of justice on June 1.

Meanwhile Chris Huhne’s bisexual lover – who is suing over invasion of privacy – admitted giving newspapers tips about the sex lives of Hollywood stars and senior politicians. Carina Trimingham confessed in the High Court last week to being the source of an article describing the ‘sexual antics’ of Oscar winner Russell Crowe with a BBC researcher at a bar. She also sold a diary story about the current Deputy Prime Minister, which she described as ‘Nick Clegg’s 18 shags story’. Carina also admitted that she had sent the infamous ‘Calamity Clegg’ email mocking Nick Clegg’s political skills while Chris Huhne’s press officer during the 2007 Lib Dem leadership contest. A bit rich of her to complain about invasions of privacy…

Leaky Bryant Attacks Hack Leak

Predictably the contents of the Culture Select Committee report into phonehacking has leaked, despite it being printed overnight at heaven knows what cost, in order to avoid this exact situation. Ahead of this morning’s press conference we already know that James Murdoch will be criticised but not accused of misleading parliament, unlike News International bad boys Colin Myler, Tom Chrone and Les Hinton. However it’s the sideshow that caught Guido’s eye…

This is the same Chris Bryant who last week revealed information that he only had access to due to his special status as a Core Participant of the Leveson Inquiry, meaning he gets to see evidence in advance. Given that he later went after the ITV journalists personally for doing their job he does not appear to be joking…



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Quote of the Day

Chuka has been trying to spin the Siemens row:

Chuka Umunna: It’s no different from Sky News quoting a business leader.

Adam Boulton: Except yours says ‘VOTE LABOUR’ at the bottom.

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