- Mayor dined with Rupert Murdoch at his London home
- Boris’ Met Police launched hacking probe two days later
- Tried to keep the meeting secret from Assembly Members
Boris Johnson met with Rupert Murdoch just two days before the Metropolitan Police launched their phone hacking investigation, Political Scrapbook can exclusively reveal. London’s mayor then attempted to keep the dinner at Murdoch’s London home a secret — telling the London Assembly that all News International meetings had been declared:
“My meetings with News International have already been made public.”
The dinner date with Rupert Murdoch, taking place just three days after Andy Coulson resigned as David Cameron’s top spinner, was not the only meeting Boris appears to have covered up. He also met with Rebekah Brooks and Will Lewis in January 2011 — the latter of whom was charged with cleaning up the hacking scandal:
- 14 January – Secret lunch with Will Lewis and Rebekah Brooks
- 21 January – Andy Coulson quits Downing Street
- 24 January – Dinner with Rupert Murdoch at his London home
- 26 January – The Operation Weeting hacking investigation begins
Having had no shortage of opportunity to declare the meeting, Boris seems to be lacking any feasible excuse. There is no mention of it on the GLA gifts and hospitality register, Boris’ expenses, or his reports to the London Assembly in either January or February of that year. But he did declare an earlier dinner with Murdoch, back in 2009, so why wouldn’t he declare this one?
Boris is no stranger to ill-advised meetings during this period. It emerged last month that he had met with editors of The Sun the day before its former editor Rebekah Brooks was arrested in a dawn raid. It’s also worth remember that when questions about it were put to him on the campaign trail, Boris described them as “f**king bollocks”.
Over to you, Lord Justice Leveson.