Boris Johnson has chosen to host Rupert Murdoch and his wife Wendi as his guests at an Olympic swimming final on Friday, underscoring his closeness to the media baron. The engagement is the first between the pair since Political Scrapbookexposedmeetings which City Hall had attempted to hide from journalists and members of the London Assembly.
As parliamentary recess begins to bite, the gossip-starved lobby has been abuzz with news that Boris is the most popular choice of future leader with the Tory grassroots. Whilst all around him have been disavowing Murdoch, Boris has clung resolutely to Rupert’s skirt — alongside William Hague and Michael Gove, who the same grassroots poll found were second and third favourite to succeed Cameron.
The opening skirmish of the next Tory leadership race may well be for the affections of Rupert: his former journalist Gove vs his bestselling authors Boris and William.
Journalists told that meetings were in online diary
But dinner at Murdoch’s home was not disclosed
Details then hidden in obscure area of City Hall website
With the mainstreammediafollowingScrapbook’s scoop on Boris Johnson’s undeclared meeting with Rupert Murdoch, a news report puts a hole in one of the excuses offered by Team Boris: that the engagement was declared on the City Hall website — albeit hidden in a section in which people would not look for this information and is not searchable by Google.
When BBC London political editor Tim Donovan asked for the meetings, he was told that they were available in the mayor’s diary — but they were not.
“when we asked last July for the full details of all the meetings he had with the Murdochs, his office said that his diary was published online. His diary at the time did not reveal this meeting with Mr Murdoch.”
At some point between last July (page archive) and this week, the scanned document was placed on the website — ostensibly in response to a freedom of information request.
Salmond government refused to comment on allegations
Murdoch accused of pressuring Scottish prosecutors
Cover-up over NOTW meetings with Edinburgh police
Scottish government telephones were targeted for phone hacking, it has been claimed. The news comes despite the refusal of Alex Salmond’s administration — backed by Rupert Murdoch — to comment on allegations said to have had a “serious impact” on the country’s security.
Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie wrote to the country’s top civil servant to ask whether official phones were hacked — but Sir Peter Housden refused to comment. Rennie told the Scotsman:
“It seems clear to me that Scottish Government phones have been hacked. Sir Peter could easily have told me that the Scottish Government had not become a victim. Telling me nothing had happened would not have jeopardised any police investigation – but he didn’t.”
In contrast with London, where the Leveson Inquiry and media select committee have placed evidence in the public domain, Scottish authorities have refused to release vital information on the basis that Strathclyde Police’s Operation Rubicon investigation is ongoing.
As Scrapbook confirmed last week, however, the Glasgow-based force have made precisely zero arrests for hacking — despite a long list of victims and Alex Salmond’s claims at Leveson of a “well-resourced investigation”.
The Edinburgh-based police force which originally prosecuted Tommy Sheridan for perjury have refused to reveal details of meetings with Scottish News Of The World journalists, while prosecutors have also refused to reveal NOTW contact — despite a top QC accusing them of being nobbled by Murdoch.
It’s not the scandal that gets you … it’s the cover-up.
William Hague came out fighting for Rupert Murdoch after a report from MPs branded him “not a fit person” to run an international company. This is from the man who worked for the News of the World as one of their highest paid columnists, earning over £400,000 from it and his publishing deals.
Rowing back against efforts to pressure media regulators Ofcom over their “fit and proper” rule, Billy Fizz told Radio Five Live:
“They are great business people, let us be clear about that … people who run big businesses around the world are very capable people”
Hauge was brought to News Of The World by Andy Coulson in 2003. In his two years as a columnist Hague was paid an eye-watering £390,000 by the Murdoch red top — comprising four six-month contracts each worth almost £100,000. Hague is rumoured to have introduced Coulson to George Osborne, who fatefully brought him into Number 10.
Hague’s biographies of William Wilberforce and Pitt the Younger, written while he was on the backbenches, were published by Murdoch’s HarperCollins — boosting his income from NewsCorp companies to nearer £1m.
In backing NewsCorp, the foreign secretary follows in the tracks of fellow Murdoch columnist Michael Gove, who was one of Jeremy Hunt’s staunchest defenders after his bruising Commons statement last week. And while Louise Mensch’s books are published by Hachette, it is notable that her sister Tilly Bagshawe has transitioned from Hachette to Harper Collins.
We’re sure Mensch’s performances over the last year will not have debarred her from joining Murdoch’s stable of bestselling authors.
Murdoch senior’s testimony to the Leveson Inquiry might have finished, but that doesn’t mean the fun has to! Scrapbook presents a new and up-to-date version of the Ask Murdoch search engine, guaranteed to be helpful to government ministers looking to ingratiate themselves with the NewsCorp boss.
Warning: may be prone to convenient memory lapses.
Rupert Murdoch’s written evidence to the Leveson Inquiry reveals that News International planned to launch a Free School with the support of Michael Gove.
The documents reveal Murdoch planned to discuss founding the school with Gove after News International’s plans to fund an Academy in East London fell through against a backdrop of protest.
Opposition to the development centred around News Corporation’s ownership of education technology provider Wireless Generation — and fears that students would become guinea pigs for the testing of profit-making technology. NewsCorp executives have claimed:
“Today’s classroom looks almost exactly the same as it did in the Victorian age …The key is the software.”
Murdoch met with Gove – twice at the press baron’s home — on four occasions throughout 2010 and 2011, with education reform being a principal topic of discussion. News International also met with Gove and Boris Johnson to visit the proposed site of the new school.
The Leveson evidence also show that News International were in contact with staff at the Department of Education to discuss plans for the school project.
Michael Gove took to the airwaves yesterday to heap lavish praise on beleaguered culture secretary Jeremy Hunt.
He may need his colleagues to return the favour before the end of play.
Tom Watson and Martin Hickman’s new book reveals a lot about the machinations of News Corporation, but we weren’t expecting this: James Murdoch used to keep a gun under his desk.
According to Dial M for Murdoch James dropped out of Harvard to found a hip-hop label, Rawkus Records, where he kept a firearm in his office – supposedly to protect himself from his more violent business associates.
The book delves into James’ rebellious days at high school, where he bleached his hair, got himself a tattoo and brandished a range of piercings:
“James had long been a rebel … He dyed his hair blond, got a tattoo and pierced his ears and an eyebrow. Subsequently he dropped out of Harvard to found a hip-hop label, Rawkus, keeping a gun under his table to deal with some of its Uzi-carrying stars.”