Suspicion That Surely Sophie Sutcliffe Saw

Awkward questions about Labour’s Shadow Culture Minister Ivan Lewis, aides and mobile phones are nothing new, however Guido has been musing that his current choice of Political Advisor might be a little more damaging than his sex-text-pest past. Given that Labour are in full breakup-Murdoch’s-empire-mode, what a good idea to have a former News International insider on the payroll. Well perhaps not given that Parliament has declared that it is “implausible” that those at the top of the company did not know that phone hacking was more widespread than the one rogue reporter.

When David Miliband’s campaign team disbanded, Lewis poached Sophie Sutcliffe, one of James Purnell’s many conquests and a former spinner at Portland. Interestingly she worked on the BSkyB account while she was there. Sutcliffe became Corporate Affairs Executive at News International in February 2009 and stayed there in the crucial period, until she started working for Lewis October 2010. The connection was made last week by Michael Crick, but the more Guido looks at the timings of her appointment and the developments in the News International scandal, the more questions that arise…

In the first six months Sutcliffe was at NI, the News of the World negotiated and paid out more than £1m to settle the first batch of phone-hacking cases out of court. Guido hopes Lewis asked what Sutcliffe’s full knowledge of this was? Given the vast amounts of money walking out of the door, you would think taht the Corporate Affairs Executive would have been filled in on developments. Did Sutcliffe know there was more to come? Did she pre-warn Lewis of what might be over the horizon? If she did, then why did Lewis not come forward with what he knew?




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