Tag Archives: news international

Did Coulson’s developed vetting finally force him to resign?

Andy Coulson

With David Cameron falsely claiming at PMQs that the UK’s former top civil servant was asked at the Leveson Inquiry whether he had raised concerns about Andy Coulson, the Tories seem to be spinning a weak line — via James Forsyth in the Spectator — that this had been “addressed” in Gus O’Donnell’s written submission to the probe.

The reality is that Gus O’Donnell’s written evidence is less that helpful to Cameron’s position. An addendum to his evidence drafted by the Cabinet Office security officer reveals that every single one of Coulson’s predecessors since January 1996 had completed the enhanced security checks called developed vetting.

Gus O'Donnell Leveson Inquiry addendum on developed vetting

With a routine vetting taking around 95 days, this indicates only one of Coulson’s predecessors had delayed (by four months) applying for this clearance. According to Jeremy Heywood, Coulson’s developed vetting only started after six months in November 2010 after a terror scare at East Midlands Airport. This process would have been well under way by the time he resigned on 21 January 2011.

People have failed to pass their DV for not being 100% honest — and we know that Coulson signed a declaration of interests and failed to mention £40,000 of shares in News International.

Subjects of DV are asked detailed questions about their sex lives — and the hacking trial heard that Coulson had a six-year affair with Rebekah Brooks.

So here’s another question which wasn’t asked at Leveson:

Did the process of Andy Coulson’s direct vetting reveal new information — or concerns about his honesty — which were a factor in his resignation in January 2011?

Boris says questions on NewsCorp sponsorship are “f**king bollocks”

Under pressure Boris Johnson turned the air blue for the second time in the mayoral race this morning. Challenged over revelations that he sought commercial sponsorship from News International — at the same time they were being investigated by the police force which he controls — Boris ranted at the BBC’s London political editor:

“Stuff [Tim] Donovan and his fucking bollocks”

Perhaps this explains Johnson’s flippancy over phone hacking. Left Foot Forward have a full run-down of Boris’ quotes on phone hacking, which include:

“I think it looks like a politically motivated put up job.”

“You are trying to make a song and dance about nothing in my view.”

With the forced smile which followed this gaffe, perhaps the campaign is finally getting to Boris.

Tom Watson on News International and axe murder inquiry

UPDATE: Highlights of Watson’s statement:

  • Watson highlighted close links between News International and Southern Investigations, the firm for which Daniel Morgan and his suspected murderers worked
  • Particularly, Watson highlighted the extremely close relationship between Southern Investigations’ Jonathan Rees and News Of The World’s Alex Marunchak
  • Watson requested information from government minister Nick Herbert on a 2002 Met intelligence report which alleges that the News of the World paid relatives of Met officers for information on the Soham murders
  • He also claimed that Met files, if revealed, would show a greater collusion between Jonathan Rees and News International

Tom Watson will in a few moments use parliamentary privilege to publicly expose details of a notorious murder inquiry allegedly blocked by News International. An adjournment debate on the unsolved axe murder of private investigator Daniel Morgan is scheduled for 4pm.

The new revelations will come after former Met officer Jacqui Hames claimed that senior Murdoch staff had “close links” with the private investigation firm whose members were accused of the murder.

Fighting back tears at the inquiry, Hames claimed:

“I believe that the real reason for the News of the World placing us under surveillance was that suspects in the Daniel Morgan murder inquiry were using their association with [News International] to try to … subvert the investigation.”

Rebekah Brooks claimed that the paper was investigating an alleged affair between Hames and Detective Chief Superintendent Dave Cook – but they had already been married for four years. Hames dismissed the explanation as “absolutely pathetic”.

Has James Murdoch jumped ship just in time?

How did News International access Fraser Brown’s medical records?

The Guardian are reporting that Gordon Brown and his family were the subject of a News International hacking and blagging operation which targeted bank accounts, legal files and his son’s medical records.

Revelations that The Sun obtained access to Fraser Brown’s confidential health files — while he was still an infant — may lead to a re-examination of an already-known episode of hacking involving the former prime minister, in which his own records were accessed by a medical professional working near his constituency.

In a story which went curiously unreported south of the border, a doctor was charged with offences under the Data Protection Act in late December 2008 but The Daily Record reported in January 2010 that the prosecution was to be dropped.

Andrew Jamieson sparked a security alert after breaking into confidential computer files on the PM and First Minister and a series of other high-profile Scots.Former Labour leader Jack McConnell and his wife Bridget had their sensitive files viewed. BBC newsreader Jackie Bird and Old Firm stars were among other victims.

We told in March how Jamieson, who worked at the Queen Margaret Hospital in Dunfermline, was charged and appeared on petition at Dunfermline Sheriff Court.Now all the victims have been told there will be no trial as the Crown say that is not in the public interest – even though there is enough evidence to prosecute.

Scrapbook understands that Dr Jamieson was not struck off by the GMC but instead gave official undertakings which would restrict his medical practice. While there is no evidence that Dr Jamieson accessed Fraser Brown’s records, today’s revelations will likely lead to a re-examination of the appearance of key stories regarding the health of Gordon Brown, and that of his family, in the British media.

Set against a backdrop of heightened concerns around leaks of confidential personal data, Dr Jamieson claimed at the time he looked at the files out of curiosity and a nameless “senior politician” was at pains to stress that the motive did not appear to be material gain.

So why wasn’t this reported properly in the English press at the time?

News Of The World boycott live blog: Which advertisers are out?

UPDATE: Oh my God, we killed the News of the World. James Murdoch has announced that not only will this Sunday’s paper carry no commercial advertising, it will also be the last issue. 


UPDATE: In an unprecedented move, the News of the World have announced that they have pulled all advertising from this Sunday’s edition. BrandRepublic reports that just four of their main advertisers remained, Sky, British Gas, Mars and Tesco.


With allegations of wrongdoing piling up hour after hour, most, if not all News of the World advertisers will be considering their positions. Do they really want to have their beloved brands associated with the hacking of the telephones of dead children?

Still advertising with NOTW


  • Ford 
  • Renault (“no advertising planned”)
  • Cadbury’s (“no advertising planned”)
  • Mumsnet (Have removed all Sky advertising from their site)
  • NatWest (‘Won’t be advertising in the next issue”)
  • Coca Cola
  • The Body Shop
  • Debenhams (“No plans to advertise with NOTW. Like everyone we are watching the developing situation very closely”)
  • Marks & Spencers (“No plans to advertise”)
  • Lloyds Banking Group
  • Vauxhall
  • Virgin Holidays
  • Halifax
  • Co-operative (after U-turn)
  • Aldi
  • TalkTalk (“no advertising planned”)
  • Mitsubishi
  • Bourne Leisure (Butlins and Haven resorts)
  • Dog’s Trust
  • EasyJet (“Whilst we have advertised in the News of the World in the past we have no current plans to do so” – hat tip to @rotty_boy)
  • N Power
  • Royal British Legion (Dropped NOTW as a campaigning partner, and “reviewing their ad budget” with News International)
  • Sainsbury’s
  • DFS (First of the top ten NOTW advertisers to withdraw, estimated spend of £608,000 for Jan-May 2011)
  • O2 (Another of the top ten, and the first communications company to pull. Estimated spend of £1.2m. CEO Ronan Dunne says ” While the situation unfolds, we will not be purchasing advertising in News of the World.)
  • Shopdirect (Top ten, estimated spend of  £640,000)
  • ASDA (While they were in the top 10 according to the Guardian, ASDA told us they had greatly reduced their ad spend to around £32k)
  • Boots (Top ten, estimated spend of £900,000)
  • L’Oreal (An advert will appear in the Fabulous supplement in this Sunday’s paper which has already been printed, but they have no plans to advertise beyond that)
  • Nivea (As above, will be in this weekends Fabulous, but nothing planned after that.)
  • Dixons Retail (Currys, PC World – withdrawing advertising “until further notice”)
  • Virgin Media (Withdrawing all advertising “for the foreseeable future” – statement to follow shortly)
  • Specsavers
  • Reckitt Benckiser (Cillit Bang, Calgon, Air Wick, Durex)
  • Dairy Crest
  • Eon (No plans to advertise)
  • B&Q (No plans to advertise – hat tip for this and Eon to @stu2308)

“Considering their position”

  • T-Mobile
  • Orange
  • Vodafone (“monitoring developments closely”)
  • Procter & Gamble (“concerned” and “reviewing their position”)
  • First Choice
  • Boots has shifted from a “no comment” line to “We do listen to our customers and will be carefully reviewing and monitoring customers’ views on these allegations before making any decisions”
  • Morrisons (Won’t be advertising this week, but didn’t plan to anyway. Still “awaiting more information” before they’ll pull out completely.
  • The UK Government (According to Commons leader Sir George Young, the Government will “urgently review” its advertising contracts with the News of the World

Also, comedian Dave Gorman has quit his regular column with the News of the World. Gorman’s management company, Avalon, confirmed to comedy news website Chortle, that “Dave won’t be continuing the column.”

Political Scrapbook will keep its ear to the ground, and will keep these lists updated as the story develops.

Max Clifford aide linked to phone hacking suspension of News Of The World editor

A senior editor described as “very close” to News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks has been suspended by the News Of The World. It is thought Ian Edmondson was given his marching orders from Wapping owing to two key phone hacking cases, those of actress Sienna Miller and Nicola Phillips, assistant to celebrity publicist Max Clifford.

Edmondson, who was originally appointed by Andy Coulson, is by far the most senior figure linked to the hacking scandal by a paper trail. If these allegations bear out it will completely obliterate New International’s “rogue reporter” defence.

The handwritten notes of private investigator Glen Mulcaire, jailed in 2007 for phone hacking, are alleged to show he undertook “electronic intelligence and eavesdropping” under orders from Edmondson. His mid-December suspension tallies with timing of revelations from confidential Metropolitan Police files disclosed to Sienna Miller’s legal team under court order.

Murdoch’s lawyers are on tenterhooks pending the imminent release of further evidence, collected by police in relation to the hacking case of sports agent Sky Andrew. Mr Justice Vos has given the Met a deadline of 12 January.

If other executives are named it would blow the whole case wide open.

Sheridan faces trial after defamation appeal

Lanarkshire politics has often been described as “hairy arsed” with most political careers filled with spectacular highs and lows. In that spirit former MSP Tommy Sheridan really has suffered the most remarkable fall from grace. Having made a name for himself campaigning against the poll tax Sheridan got himself elected first to Glasgow City Council and then as the first ever Scottish Socialist Party member of the Scottish Parliament in 1999. A further FIVE Scottish Socialist Party MSPs were elected on his coat-tails in the 2003 Holyrood elections. However following a report in the News of the World that SSP leader was a regular visitor to swingers clubs he resigned as national convenor of his party and set up a new one after he allegedly tried, and failed, to persuade them to perjure themselves as he pursued Rupert Murdoch’s News International organisation.

Despite being awarded £200,000 after suing the News of the World Sheridan won’t have actually seen a penny of this money as News International have launched an appeal against the decision. His decision to set up a new party and split the Socialist vote in Scotland resulted in Sheridan and his former comrades all losing their seats in 2007. And in the most remarkable reversal of fortune to-date Tommy Sheridan and his wife Gail are now on trial for perjury.

Sheridan’s former comrades are lining up to testify that he confessed to visiting swingers clubs at a meeting of the party’s politburo executive, as well as to identify his voice on a tape saying that confessing was the “biggest mistake of [his] life”. Transcripts of the tape itself are highly amusing however the most entertaining extract has got to be the voice’s reference to a swinging date in the early nineties:

“In 1992, which is in some respects my saving grace – because if there’s any story about that she knows about my personal habits – you know, I’ve got a hairy back or a hairy arse, well of course she does, because she f**king shagged me.”

Contempt of Court laws prohibit Scrapbook from speculating as to Sheridan’s chances of success – we’ll leave that up to you!

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