“We all did too much cosying up to Rupert Murdoch…”

Interesting response to a rather loaded question from the member for East Lothian Fiona O’Donnell from David Cameron asking if Alex Salmond… It followed a fairly cool handling of calls from the Labour front bench for Jeremy Hunt to resign… Mr Hunt himself made a holding statement to the commons shortly after PMQs… He won’t be jumping anytime before Leveson… He says he has strictly followed due process, taking advice from regulators and he has published all advice from those regulators… and he has been in contact with NewsCorp…

He categorically denies the allegation that there has been a secret back channel between himself… volume and tone of the correspondence not acceptable so his special advisor Adam Smith has gone instead of him… Hunt says he only saw the transcripts of the correspondence yesterday when the rest of us did… He is writing to Leveson to see if he can fast track his appearance as quickly as possible…

Harriet Harmon, in a very assured presentation, accused him of giving Murdoch information about what he was going to do and say about the Murdoch’s PR Fred Michel got hold of the SoS’s decisions days before… She pointed to 3.3 of the Ministerial Code, arguing that it is his responsibility what his special advisor gets up to…

It’s still going on…

Update: Hunt came out fighting trying to pin closeness of Labour’s front bench to the same Murdoch family… Hunt say the House should take account of four decisions against what NewsCorps wanted…

And: Michael White, as ever, puts the cap on it:

In his diaries Labour ex-MP Chris Mullin recalls John Major’s loathing for the Murdochs, his wish that Blair would join him in a “two-party alliance” to end their grip on politics. Mullin urged Blair to apply “deadly force” as soon as he won power. But the Faustian pact had already been signed and appeasement became the order of the day, Murdoch the unseen cabinet member hovering over countless decisions.

“We’ve not neutralised Murdoch, he’s neutralised us,” Mullin wrote before 1997. Yet Major’s two-party alliance has accidentally come about and Leveson sits in judgment at last.

  • andnowwhat

    John Prescott has just Tweeted that Hunt has broken rule 3.3 of ministerial code.

    http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http:/www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/media/409215/ministerialcodemay2010.pdf

    “The responsibility for the management & conduct of special advisers including discipline rests with the Minister who made the appointment..”Individual Ministers will be accountable to PM, Parliament & the public for their actions & decisions in respect of their special advisers”

  • Drumlins Rock

    Nice to hear that about Major, history seems to be treating him more generously than most believed at the time.

    I hope this squabble isn’t used to deflect attention of Murdoch, I’m sure he will leak details on Labour too and create a nice little diversion.

  • andnowwhat

    Hands up who had Rupert Murdoch down as an Alex Salmond fan? Be honest now

  • John Anderson

    andnowwhat:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-17836535

    The circulations of the main unionist papers are collapsing, and backing a proven winner who holds opposing views is helping him to grow his company’s market share. Whatever other reasons Murdoch may have for his views, business concerns take priority over any political opinions.