Posts Tagged ‘James Murdoch’

David Cameron’s political judgement makes him the real Hunt of this story

25/04/2012, 07:10:40 AM

by Atul Hatwal

Why does Jeremy Hunt still have a job? His holding statement last night was so full of holes it could be used to sieve the peas.

Hunt’s words were carefully chosen, and as ever when politicians’ parse, it is what is not explicitly ruled out that counts:  “some of the evidence reported meetings and conversations that simply didn’t happen “.

So, some of the meetings and conversations did happen.

That’s enough. A cursory reading of the e-mails suggests that for Hunt to survive, Frédéric Michel would have had to have been a complete fantasist. Jeremy Hunt has already said he is not.

The depth of trouble in which Hunt finds himself can be gauged by the way the Leveson cache of e-mails is being reported: almost always with a prefix such as “devastating”, in the same way Andrew Lansley is normally “gaffe-prone” or “under pressure”.

Naturally, Jeremy Hunt thinks he can ride out the storm. After spending the best part of the past two decades scrambling to climb the greasy political pole (so to speak), he and his advisers will desperately be looking for a way through the minefield. It’s an understandable human reaction.

But what makes less sense is the response from Number 10.

Quite apart from the substance of the issue and the appalling privileged influence that the Murdochs clearly enjoyed, there is something potentially even more damaging in the Downing street reaction, certainly in the medium term: their failure of political judgement.


Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Wednesday News Review

07/09/2011, 06:59:53 AM

Testimonies put Murdoch in hot water

James Murdoch could be recalled to Parliament to face MPs after fresh phone hacking claims at the News of the World emerged. The paper’s former lawyer Tom Crone told the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee yesterday Mr Murdoch knew the practice went beyond “rogue reporter” Clive Goodman. Mr Crone said he was “certain” he told him about the “For Neville” email, which is thought to have been intended for reporter Neville Thurlbeck. It contained hacked information about Profesional Footballers Association chief Gordon Taylor, to whom Mr Murdoch authorised a damages payout of £425,000. Mr Murdoch had previously told MPs he was not informed about the email. He said in a statement yesterday he stood by his initial testimony. – Daily Mirror

James Murdoch is likely to be recalled to parliament to answer fresh questions after two former News of the World executives said on Tuesday they were certain Murdoch was told of an explosive email that indicated phone hacking at the paper went beyond one rogue reporter. Commons sources said Murdoch would probably be ordered to appear for a second time before MPs next month to clarify whether or not he was told about the now-notorious “for Neville” email, which blew apart the newspaper’s defence that phone hacking was isolated to its royal editor, Clive Goodman. In a tense session before the culture, media and sport committee, Tom Crone, who left as News Group Newspapers‘ legal manager in August, said he had told Murdoch about the email. It was after hearing the news of the email at a 15-minute meeting in 2008, he claimed, that Murdoch authorised a payment of £425,000 plus costs to Gordon Taylor, a football executive. This contradicts James Murdoch’s account of events. Giving evidence at the same session, Colin Myler, who became editor of News of the World after Andy Coulson resigned over phone hacking at the paper, said it was “inconceivable” that Murdoch was unaware that the email indicated hacking went beyond a single rogue reporter at the Sunday newspaper. – the Guardian

Osborne admits to economic woes but will stick to Plan A anyway

Britain is living through a ‘Great Contraction’ which will mean lower than expected growth – but would face disaster if it shifted course from tough austerity measures, George Osborne said last night. The Chancellor gave his clearest signal yet that official forecasts for recovery will have to be downgraded later this year, admitting: ‘We have all had to revise down our short-term expectations over recent weeks.’ Mr Osborne blamed Labour’s mismanagement of the economy – arguing that the ‘overhang of debt’ meant the recovery from the financial crisis was ‘slower and choppier’ than recoveries from other kinds of recession.  ‘That’s why economists… have called the period we are living through the “Great Contraction”,’ the Chancellor said. – Daily Mail

In boastful mood last night George Osborne said the Government’s tough deficit-reduction strategy meant Britain was “master of its own destiny” unlike other European nations which were at the mercy of the financial markets. In a defiant speech to the Lloyds insurance market in London, the Chancellor conceded that all countries had had to “revise down our short-term expectations over recent weeks”. That was a clear signal that the Office of Budget Responsibility would scale down its growth forecasts on 29 November, when the Chancellor publishes his autumn statement. He is expected to unveil a raft of measures designed to boost growth, some of which may be trailed at next month’s Conservative Party conference. Last night he argued that the lesson of the summer was that Britain had not suffered the same wobbles as Italy, Spain and France because the Government enjoyed the confidence of the financial markets. – the Independent

Moran faces 21 charges

Disgraced former Luton MP Margaret Moran is to face criminal charges in relation to her parliamentary expenses claims. Ms Moran was considered to be among the worst offenders in the 2009 expenses scandal and was forced to stand down at the 2010 general election. She is to appear at Westminster magistrates court on September 19th to face 15 charges of false accounting and six of forgery, the Crown Prosecution Service confirmed. Keir Starmer QC, director of public prosecutions, said: “Having thoroughly reviewed the evidence gathered by the police, we have decided there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to bring criminal charges against Margaret Moran. “These charges relate to fraudulent claims with a total value of more than £60,000.” Ms Moran is the fifth Labour MP to face criminal charges over expenses, following David Chaytor, Jim Devine, Eric Illsley and former minister Elliot Morley. –

Another ex-Tory MP to appear on Strictly

Brendan Cole has admitted he would be happy to be partnered with ex-politician Edwina Currie on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’. Brendan Cole would be happy to partner Edwina Currie on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’. The professional dancer – who previously won the show with Natasha Kaplinsky in 2004 – is set to find out who his partner will be tomorrow (07.09.11), but admits he doesn’t care who he gets, despite predictions the 64-year-old ex-politician will struggle with the routines because of her age. When asked if he’d like to dance with Edwina at the launch for the Jeans for Genes campaign at Kettners in London last night (06.09.11), Brendan exclusively told Bang Showbiz: “I don’t mind who I’m partnered with, to be honest, young or old. – the List

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Tuesday News Review

06/09/2011, 06:49:16 AM

MPs to examine Murdoch’s claim

MPs will test James Murdoch’s assertion he knew nothing about a crucial email in the phone-hacking scandal when they quiz former News Of The World executives today. The News International chairman has reportedly cancelled a trip to Asia to monitor first-hand what is said at the select committee hearing because he knows his credibility as a witness and a business leader is on the line. When James Murdoch appeared with his father Rupert before the Culture, Media and Sport committee in July, he was asked if he knew about a document known as the “for Neville” email which is seen as critical to the hacking inquiry. The email indicates that the practice of hacking was more widespread than News International (NI) originally admitted. James Murdoch said he was unaware of the document at the time he sanctioned a payout totalling hundreds of thousands of pounds to the Professional Footballers’ Association chief Gordon Taylor, whose phone was hacked by the News of The World (NOTW). His denial of knowledge of the email was subsequently contradicted by Colin Myler, the NOTW’s last editor, and the paper’s former lawyer Tom Crone, both of whom will give their side of the story to the committee. –  Sky News

The former legal manager of the News of the World (NOTW), Tom Crone and the paper’s former editor, Colin Myler, today face questioning from the Commons committee investigating phone hacking, after Scotland Yard confirmed no formal charges were imminent in their own criminal investigation into the scandal. MPs on the culture, media and sport select committee had been concerned that their probe into phone hacking was on the verge of being halted as police investigations throughout the UK intensified and threatened formal charges being brought against key figures at the centre of the hacking affair. However, the Metropolitan Police’s specialist crime directorate investigating phone hacking, will now allow MPs to pursue an uncompromised re-examination of Mr Crone and Mr Myler. In 2009, the two gave evidence to earlier hearings of the committee, saying James Murdoch, News Corporation’s chairman and chief executive, had been informed of the background behind an out-of-court settlement of £700,000 to a hacking victim, football boss Gordon Taylor. – the Independent

Rioters were known criminals

The justice secretary, Kenneth Clarke, has blamed the riots that swept across England last month on a “broken penal system” that has failed to rehabilitate a group of hardcore offenders he describes as the “criminal classes”. Revealing for the first time that almost 75% of those aged over 18 charged with offences committed during the riots had prior convictions, Clarke said the civil unrest had laid bare an urgent need for penal reform to stop reoffending among “a feral underclass, cut off from the mainstream in everything but its materialism”. Writing in the Guardian, Clarke dismisses criticism of the severity of sentences handed down to rioters and said judges had been “getting it about right”. However, he adds that punishment alone was “not enough”. “It’s not yet been widely recognised, but the hardcore of the rioters were in fact known criminals. Close to three quarters of those aged 18 or over charged with riot offences already had a prior conviction. That is the legacy of a broken penal system – one whose record in preventing reoffending has been straightforwardly dreadful.” – the Guardian

Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke has blamed last month’s riots on a ‘broken penal system’ that has failed to rehabilitate what he describes as the hardcore ‘criminal classes’. He revealed that almost 75 per cent of those aged over 18 charged with offences committed during the riots had prior convictions. Mr Clarke said reform was vital to prevent reoffending among ‘a feral underclass, cut off from the mainstream in everything but its materialism’. He also expressed concern at ‘the instinctive criminal behaviour of apparently random passers-by’. His remarks will be seen as bitterly ironic by right-wing Tory MPs, who blame the Justice Secretary for threatening their party’s reputation on law and order with a series of ‘soft sentencing’ policy proposals, which had to be overruled by Downing Street. – Daily Mail

Cameras to be let in the courts

David Cameron is expected to pave the way for the move in a speech on crime planned for later this month. The televised coverage is expected to be limited and will not allow cameras to record witnesses giving evidence. Television cameras are currently banned from most courts in England and Wales, although the proceedings of the new Supreme Court can be broadcast. It is understood cameras will first be allowed in to the court of appeal. That move could be announced today, but the Government is keen to expand it to other courts and is in talks with the judiciary on how that might work. Lord Macdonald, the former director of public prosecutions, backed the move, comparing it to the broadcasting of parliament. “I’ve been a supporter of this for years,” he said. Baroness Kennedy QC, a human rights lawyer, has argued that cameras would distort trials. – the Telegraph

Lawson invited to join UKIP

With impeccable timing, the UKIP leader Nigel Farage today wrote to the former chancellor Lord Lawson to invite him to join his party. Farage fired off a letter after Lawson called on David Cameron to use any future EU treaty negotiations, in the wake of the crisis in the Eurozone, to call for an end to greater European integration. This is what Farage says: “Nigel Lawson has come to the conclusion that the very approach of the EU is against Britain’s interests, and is calling for the concept of ‘Ever Closer Union’ to be struck from the Treaty. He calls for a new Constitution that makes explicit the limits of EU power. He is also wise enough to know that his proposals have not a cat in hells chance of being accepted by the other 26 countries of the European Union. What Lord Lawson leaves unspoken is what happens when inevitably the EU rejects his idea. If the changes he calls for are not made, then Britain must reserve the right to leave the moribund European Union and strike out as a free-trading good neighbour of the European Union.” – the Guardian

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Watson formally requests Hunt to re-refer News Corp bid for BSkyB to Ofcom, on new grounds

24/01/2011, 07:03:19 PM

Tom Watson MP

House of Commons

London, SW1A 0AA

The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP
Secretary of State
Department for Culture, Media & Sport
2-4 Cockspur Street

24 January 2011

Dear Jeremy,

In light of recent revelations I write to ask you to commission a further report from Ofcom, concerning the bid for BSkyB by Rupert and James Murdoch’s News Corp.

As you know, the News Corp proposal was investigated by Ofcom under the public interest provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002. There are three sub-clauses: ‘plurality’, ‘range of broadcasting’ and ‘commitment to broadcasting standards’. The original referral only looked at ‘plurality’.

I would like the transaction investigated under the ‘broadcasting standards’ category.

Section 58 of the Enterprise Act 2002 provides the Specified Considerations of which 2 C specifies:

“The need for persons carrying on media enterprises, and for those with control of such enterprises, to have a genuine commitment to the attainment in relation to broadcasting of the standards objectives set out in section 319 of the Communications Act 2003”.

Section 319 of the Communications Act contains the Ofcom code.

Paragraph 2 a) states “that persons under the age of 18 are protected”.

Paragraph 2 b) of the code states “that material likely to encourage or to incite the commission of crime or lead to disorder is not included in television and radio services”.

Paragraph 2 d) of the code “that news included in television and radio services is reported with due accuracy”.

The investigation is entitled to study whether the acquirer has shown evidence of bad practice in its other media companies.

In terms of generally criminal conduct; you will well know of the News of the World’s industrial use of material acquired by illegal phone-hacking.  Two individuals formerly employed by the News of the World have been imprisoned for offences related to this practice and two current employees are suspended following material obtained by civil actions against the newspaper.  The police have re-referred the matter to the CPS. There is no doubt that there is much more yet to come to reveal the extent of the activities. (more…)

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon