Vaz demand for more detail on ‘paying’ police officers seals Brooks’ fate
James Murdoch/Elizabeth Murdoch saga pinpointed by Slog proves prescient
Met lied to Police Authority about Andy Hayman being entertained by company he was investigating
During another terrible 36 hours for Newscorp yesterday and today, Rupert Murdoch worked hard to move his chosen successor-son away from the solids-spray, in what it seems may have been a strategy ‘agreed’ at the highest levels of Government. But the man we still believe to be key – Andy Hayman – had more meals and drinks with Newscorp than had previously been revealed by the Met. His position today as a ‘crime reporter’ for the Murdoch title The Sunday Times (where he writes an annual column) remains one causing deep suspicion among both MPs and the media.
On February 22nd last The Slog posted to the effect that Rupert Murdoch’s purchase of his daughter Elizabeth’s company Shine was rather more than the usual nepotism associated with all those who hate royal families. Three days ago we posted to say that the ‘discovery’ of emails dating back to 2005-6 was a sign that the Murdoch clan has decided to hang out those with other blood-types to dry. So it has proved.
We can be sure that a fair number of deals were done between Newscorp and Number Ten over the last few weeks. The Slog can reveal that the PM and Newscorp’s CEO have had at least three conversations over scrambler phones (definitely not mobile phones, of course) in order to cross t’s and dot I’s re this one. But as predicted, what has been presented as James’s elevation to Successor (which it is, by the way) is as much about getting the Great One’s spawn out of his role in doing the BSkyB deal – he very probably being as much at risk of 2005 email contagion as anyone else.
Quite how the selective use of these emails will proceed remains unclear. But it seems both sides agree that James (close to Cameron, and genetically a Murdoch) being party to them would be a tad hard to explain – even to a Commons Select Committee. Whereas the divine Elizabeth has the triadic advantages of having clinically clean hands, a great track record in programme production, and not being called James. So expect to see her playing an increasingly public role as the front of UK Sky….or whatever they decide to call the new company.
I have no idea if Keith Vaz was given the go-ahead (once this had been settled) to ask Rebekah to explain her extraordinary 2003 confession (on video, mark you) to having paid coppers for information, but he’s done it anyway. Word has it that West End CID is reasonably confident that, should Keith get out of line in relation to the Met’s reputation, they have enough background on the controversial Labour MP to ensure containment. Personally, I couldn’t comment with any degree of certainty.
I would imagine that even as I write, spinners inside Number Ten are plotting how the alleged guilt of Andy Coulson will be ‘managed’. I suspect the one bit with which they’ll struggle is Handy Andy’s intervention during Rebekah’s 2003 Commons Committee grilling – when it looked for a few seconds like she might blow the totality of relationship between Newscorp and Andy Hayman, the low profile ex anti-terrorist copper and writer of the Annual Sunday Times Crime Column.
But The Independent poured misery onto the fear and loathing down Wapping way this morning, by showing that the NotW expenses budget had been even more hammered in the entertainment of the Met Police than had been originally feared. The main ‘new’ recipient was Andy Hayman himself, but this has only been revealed by an FOI request. As the Indie reports, his free meal ticket
‘…was left off lists of contacts between senior officers and the paper’s owner sent to the Metropolitan Police Authority. Its disclosure in a Freedom of Information request prompted claims that the force had an unduly “cosy relationship” with Rupert Murdoch’s print empire News International….’
It’s the brazen nature of it all that gets to one in the end. There’s no style or finesse about any of these sleazy relationships. Once upon a time there was cloak and dagger: now there is only collusion and dinner.
As for poor Bekkie Brooks, you have to feel for her. Not being that bright an’ all, she finds herself CEO of a company about to be bombed by Sue Akers, with the drawbridge leading into Chateau Le Roop pulled up behind her. The streetwise Andy Coulson will shrug and see such things as part of life’s rich tapestry. But Rebekah has known only hob-nobbing with the smart set, and marriage to an Eton mate of David Cameron. Life in Holloway (should that remote possibility ever come to pass) would come as an appalling shock to her.
Postscript: Regular Sloggers may have spotted that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has seen fit to honour her second son. You can always be assured that, if you dislike Murdoch and everything associated with the unpleasant old shit, you will be in good company.