An MoD official, charged alongside Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson as part of Operation Elvden, was involved with organising visits to Afghanistan for officials. Bettina Jordan Barber’s LinkedIn profile shows her to be an Afghanistan Visits Strategy Officer:
Operation Elveden is looking into allegations of inappropriate payments to police and public officials.
Jordan-Barber is alleged to have been paid £100,000 over a period of seven years.
A senior Sun editorial source has feigned that the paper’s staff were not aware that former editor Rebekah Brooks was given a whopping £7 million following her resignation from News International — while simultaneously pouring scornon the BBC for George Entwistle’s payoff.
Brooks’ £7m golden goodbye towers over Entwistle’s £450k. But despite this, The Sun have publishedno less than 19 scathing articles attacking the BBC, claiming it to be a waste of money. News of Brooks’ payoff merited zero Sun column inches when it broke last month.
Entwistle was entitled to 6 months pay, but he received 12 months, the sum for being fired. The chairman of the BBC Trust, Lord Patten, described Entwistle’s payoff as “justifiable” on the grounds that had he not jumped, he may have been pushed.
As far as Scrapbook is aware, Entwistle hasn’t been arrested or charged either — unlike Brooks.
Boris Johnson has been caught out again over his close links to the Murdochs. After Political Scrapbook exposed secret meetings between the London mayor and News Corp staff — including Rupert Murdoch — as Met Police’s hacking investigation was launched, staff from BBC London have now uncovered new details of phone calls with senior executives.
As with the meetings detailed by Scrapbook in June, Boris did his best to resist disclosure of his full diary in repose to a freedom of information request, arguing that revealing details of his movements would pose “a sizeable risk” to his security. The information commissioner disagreed, however, forcing the release of Boris’ full itinerary, including:
Two secret phone calls with Rebakah Brooks
One undeclared phone call with James Murdoch
Two face-to-face meetings with lobbyist Fred Michel
We’re publishing a full run-down of Boris’ Murdoch fibs tomorrow morning.
While Boris Johnson enjoys front-page coverage for a poll claiming the Tories would be one point behind Labour if he was in charge, Scrapbook has uncovered yet more evidence of City Hall’s attempts to hide secret meetings between the mayor and News International staff as the phone hacking scandal exploded.
Correspondence between officials in City Hall and journalists seen by Scrapbookexpose clear attempts to conceal meetings early in 2011 which were later exposed by this blog. In July 2011, the mayor’s office were asked:
“We would also like to be absolutely clear – for the record – about the date and venue of all meetings which the mayor has had since being elected with: Rebekah Brooks (Wade); James Murdoch; Rupert Murdoch.”
“In terms of the mayor’s diary commitments, his diary is published online”
But the meetings were not published online until months later in November 2011 — when they were squirrelled away on an obscure section of the City Hall website. The secret meetings should have been declared in his reports to the London Assembly or the hospitality register.
While such a cover-up would be national news if Boris was in Number 10, it apparently merited scant scrutiny by London’s supine print press.
He certainly knows how to keep supporters sweet — the former editor of the Evening Standard has just been given a £95,000 City Hall job as a “volunteering adviser”.
In tense exchanges with Labour assembly member Len Duvall at Mayor’s Question Time this afternoon, Boris Johnson struggled to play down the significance of a string of meetings with News Internationalbrought to light by Political Scrapbook — leaving numerous key questions unanswered.
Official confirmation emerged late yesterday that Boris had kept News International meetings hidden for eleven months — a tacit admission that Boris’ administration had lied to journalists who had asked about such appointments last summer.
The mayor was unable to explain whether or not he knew about the police’s investigation into phone hacking, Operation Weeting, at the time he met with key executives from the organisation targeted by the Met Police — including an engagement at Rupert Murdoch’s London home.
And having previously trotted out numerous implausible excuses for not declaring the meetings, Boris couldn’t manage to get his story straight. The mayor described a meeting with Rebekah Brooks as a “private lunch” — but then volunteered that he had used the meeting to discuss mayoral business:
“I think I probably discussed … the great success of our administration in fighting crime, in securing record investment in transport, in preparing London for the greatest Olympics and Paralympic games that have ever been held … I wouldn’t be surprised if I discussed any number of things.”
Asked if he had not appeared before the Leveson inquiry because he knew it would mean having to answer questions under oath, Boris said he felt “insulted and humiliated” that nobody had asked him to testify.
“I have not been invited to give evidence at Leveson, which has been greatly to the detriment of my social standing.”
Perhaps Lord Justice Brian can help elevate his status.
A series of clandestine meetings between the Mayor of London, Rupert Murdoch and high level executives at News International were kept secret for ten months at the height of the phone hacking scandal, it will be confirmed today.
City Halls’ monitoring officer has disclosed to opposition members of the London Assembly that details of the meetings, published by Political Scrapbook two weeks ago and also scheduled to include Rebekah Brooks and Will Lewis, were placed in an obscure corner of the London.gov.uk website on 1 November 2011 — ten months after they took place and four months after a freedom of information request was made to obtain the data.
In just one session of Mayor’s Question Time, Boris Johnson described phone-hacking as:
“a load of codswallop cooked up by the Labour Party”
“patently politically motivated”
“a politically motivated put up job”
“completely spurious and political”
“a song and dance about nothing”
“whipped up by the Guardian and the Labour Party”
But in the ten months in which the meetings were kept hidden, the News Of The World was axed, Operation Weeting was launched and the world learned the true extent of the scandal, including the hacking of Milly Dowler and dead soldiers’ families – prompting the launch of the Leveson Inquiry.
We look forward to Boris’ explanations — at 10am this morning.
Rebekah Brooks, her husband Charlie and four people close to them will be charged with perverting the course of justice. The move comes after police uncovered an alleged cover up following the former News International executive’s original arrest.
A laptop and an iPad found were found dumped in a bin underneath the Brooks’ luxury apartment on 18 July last year – the day after Mrs Brooks was first detained over hacking allegations.
Police have the CCTV from the scene at which they were disposed.