Saturday News Review

Coulson & Cameron under pressure

Ed Miliband, the Labour leadership contender, said: “These are very serious allegations. If I was prime minister and Andy Coulson was working for me I would demand to know from Andy Coulson the truth. I don’t see how he can stay working in Downing Street unless he clears this up and says whether his former colleagues are telling the truth or not.” The News of the World said: “The New York Times story contains no new evidence – it relies on unsubstantiated allegations from unnamed sources or claims from disgruntled former employees that should be treated with extreme scepticism given the reasons for their departures from this newspaper. We reject absolutely any suggestion there was a widespread culture of wrongdoing at the News of the World.” – The Guardian

Alan Johnson said he had felt “uncomfortable” about the investigation into the News of the World by the Metropolitan Police while serving as Gordon Brown’s home secretary. It has been alleged that the Met deliberately chose not to inform MPs, celebrities and public figures, including senior police officers, that their phones may have been hacked. Mr Johnson said the case could now be taken up by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, which oversees the work of the police. “There may now be a case for the Home Secretary to ask the HMIC to investigate,” he said, adding he would use ex-ministers’ privileges to inspect the files. – The Telegraph

Hackers illegally tapped a mobile phone belonging to Tessa Jowell at least 28 times while she was a serving cabinet minister, it emerged last night. Until now, Ms Jowell, the former Culture Secretary, has not spoken publicly about the phone-tapping scandal. The scale of the hacking of a serving Cabinet minister’s telephone was uncovered by detectives who had been looking into the tapping of Prince Harry’s mobile phone. – The Independent

Tom Watson, the Labour MP who is running a parallel campaign to open up a full judicial inquiry into the entire affair, wrote on Friday to Sir Paul Stephenson, the Met commissioner, with 13 questions he believes the service has yet to answer. Mr Watson wrote: “The Metropolitan Police’s historic and continued mishandling of this affair is bringing your force, and hence our democracy, into disrepute.” Scotland Yard has previously denied it failed to conduct a thorough inquiry. George Galloway, the leftwing former MP who has previously sued News of the World, also promised to bring legal action. He said he would not accept a pay-off from News International, which owns the paper, and promised to bring his case to court. – The FT

he Media Standards Trust has backed calls for a judicial inquiry into allegations of phone hacking at the News of the World […]MP Tom Watson, a member of the Culture, Media and Sport select committee, which previously investigated accusations of phone tapping at the tabloid, wrote to deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg yesterday saying the report constituted “clear grounds for a judicial review”, according to a release sent out by the Media Standards Trust. The Trust added that it “wholeheartedly agrees” with the call for an official inquiry and also supports Watson’s calls for the Independent Police Complaints Commission to investigate allegations of collusion. –

Resignations and defections

In Liverpool, Councillor Ian Jobling has defected to Labour, accusing the Liberal Democrats of “double standards and hypocrisy”. He said: “Our manifesto in May clearly stated that there would be no cuts before 2011-12 because it would cost jobs.” Two Exeter councillors who have defected to Labour, Rob Hannaford and his civil partner Adrian Hannaford, said they were unhappy that the Liberal Democrats had joined the Coalition. “We have spent a lot of time working for the Lib Dems and never thought we would be supporting a Tory Prime Minister,” they said. “We are both aware the deficit has to be cut but would prefer it to be done in a more steady way over a longer period.” In Manchester, Councillor Ken Dobson has left the party and will sit as an independent. “I don’t feel I can defend national policy which harms the people of this city,” he said yesterday. – The Independent

Balls still fighting

Ed Balls launched a scathing attack on Tony Blair on Friday, lambasting his economic analysis and branding the former prime minister’s book “one-sided and unfair”. Mr Balls, who is running for the Labour leadership, told BBC Radio 4’s Todayprogramme he disagreed with Mr Blair’s view that Labour should have cut the deficit between 2005 and 2010. “He’s wrong on this in my view – in the same way as he was wrong that we should have joined the single currency at the beginning of the decade,” he said. – The FT

Speaking to LabourList, Balls said his performance against Michael Gove – which has included Gove, the education secretary, having to apologise to parliament after Balls highlighted mistakes in a list of school building cuts – showed that he had the capacity to “win the intellectual argument against the coalition policies”. He went on: “The reason the Daily Mail calls me ‘an extreme leftwing socialist zealot’ is because they don’t like the fact that I make the case against some of the things the Conservatives support.” – The Guardian

LABOUR leadership contender Ed Balls was in Wales yesterday, seeking to bolster support by demonstrating his opposition to the privatisation of the Royal Mail. Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable is actively considering selling off the postal service, despite polls showing the public is overwhelmingly against such a move. Mr Balls, whose leadership campaign is backed by the Communication Workers Union (CWU), said after a visit to the main post office in Cardiff: “I was one of those who voiced concerns in Cabinet when Peter Mandelson proposed the partial privatisation of the Royal Mail. The idea was shelved and I was very pleased when our General Election manifesto included a commitment to keep it as a public service. – The Western Mail

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2 Responses to “Saturday News Review”

  1. Hi

    Excellent post

    “Ed Miliband, the Labour leadership contender, said: “These are very serious allegations. If I was prime minister and Andy Coulson WERE working for me”

    should read

    “Ed Miliband, the Labour leadership contender, said: “These are very serious allegations. If I WERE prime minister and Andy Coulson were working for me ”

    Subjunctive surely?

    Other things to discuss when I meet him tomorrow at Haverstock Hill. He is by far my no 1 candidate, to get Labour out of the claws of the worst of New Labour, in opinion.

    Dr Shibley Rahman
    Primrose Hill

  2. You will note that my last post was barely English anyway! LOL

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