James Murdoch Skewers Hunt

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. You read it right here first…

Murdoch Jr. confessed that the BSkyB bid had come up at said dinner: “It was a tiny side conversation, it was not a discussion.” Which is somewhat different to what government spinners have said previously. A nervous No.10 will be thinking it could have been a lot worse, but this is still a potential breach of the Ministerial Code as Labour pointed out at the time.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt was not so lucky though. Murdoch coughed that Hunt was essentially his back-channel point man for the deal after Vince Cable made clear that a meeting was not going to happen. The chief inquisitor Mr Jay called him Hunt a “cheerleader” and his statements made to the Commons on the matter are looking a little shaky this afternoon…

UPDATE: Rumour reaches Guido that correspondence between Hunt, his SpAds and the Murdochs in regard to BSkyB will be published by the inquiry later. It is said to be very bad news for Hunt.

UPDATE II: Hundreds of pages of emails will be released covering conversations with Hunt’s staff and Murdoch staff. At 4pm…




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Quote of the Day

Dominic Raab wrote in his letter of resignation…

“This is, at its heart, a matter of public trust,” he told the PM, concluding: “I cannot reconcile the terms of the proposed deal with the promises we made to the country in our manifesto at the last election… I believe that the regulatory regime proposed for Northern Ireland presents a very real threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom. I cannot support an indefinite backstop arrangement, where the EU holds a veto over our ability to exit…”

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