It’s not just editorial changes at all the papers at Wapping, now News International itself is no more. This morning it became News UK, apparently so named to reflect Murdoch’s “ongoing commitment” to the UK.
Which will upset the haters…
In spite of his rough ride at Leveson it seems Gordon Brown got off lightly considering the evidence that wasn’t heard by the inquiry. Guido understands that Linklaters, the law firm contracted by News International to conduct interviews with employees over phone-hacking, possesses a wealth of evidence on the Prime Mentalist that Leveson decided was outside his remit.
Sources close to Linklaters whisper to Guido that while Leveson only asked for specific evidence from 2008 onwards, they collected testimony from Fred Michel dating back to the crucial election-that-never-was period in 2007 that was not heard at the inquiry. This includes embarrassing details of failed attempts by Brown’s aides to lobby Murdoch for support and more significantly evidence that sources at the law firm believe show Brown lied under oath when he denied the truth of the infamous ‘declare war’ phone call. If anyone at Linklaters feels like doing the public a service, they know what to do…
Some strange goings on over at the Plaid Cymru annual conference in Wales today. As Guido reported earlier they kicked things off promising to magic some growth by reducing oil usage, and now they have been graced by the presence of a somewhat unexpected guest:
As if that were not enough Plaid’s new leader Leanne Wood has given her maiden speech, telling conference goers:
Moving swiftly on…
“This is Rupert Murdoch’s toxic legacy.”
“The closure of the News of the World is a small victory for decency and humanity.”
“I will do everything in my power to keep [phone-hacking] in the popular imagination.”
“News International’s behaviour is not unlike a protection racket”.
In other news the first episode of Coogan’s hilarious new series Places of my Life airs on Sky Atlantic at 9pm tonight.
Guido wonders whether he’ll tell the one about the time he took a huge cheque from Uncle Rupe…
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.
This lawyer’s letter has just been sent out to media organisations:
Not for Publication
Private and Confidential
We act for News Corporation.
We understand that the BBC is due to broadcast a Panorama programme on Monday 26 March 2012, in which serious and defamatory allegations may be made against our client. We say this, not because any allegations have been put to our client prior to broadcast, but because the BBC is publishing on its own website the following synopsis of the programme:
“As Rupert Murdoch faces accusations of law-breaking and corruption at his British tabloid newspapers, Panorama reveals fresh hacking allegations at the heart of News Corporation’s pay-TV empire. The investigation examines the role of former senior police officers in recruiting people to break the law – in order to bring down Murdoch’s commercial rival.”
The allegation which the BBC appears to be broadcasting on Monday is that News Corporation has been involved in illegal activities designed to cause the collapse of a business rival. We write to put you on notice that this allegation is serious, defamatory, false and highly damaging; we urge your paper not to republish it, especially in circumstances where our client has not been given the opportunity to respond.
PSB Law LLP
Panorama’s ratings should be good…
Yesterday the Guardian published an article by former burlesque dancer Laurie Penny which claimed that
“Charlotte Church was 15 years old when Britain’s best-read daily newspaper began a public countdown to the day on which she could be legally f****d.”
The claim is totally false.
It was corrected after the Heresy Corner blog pointed out the false claim. This takes the number of corrections to stories published by the Guardian about News International tabloids to 38. All sense of proportion and indeed sense has gone out the window. The allegation was designed to deliberately characterise The Sun in the worst possible light.
UPDATE: They have managed in Grauniad style to cock-up the correction.