Cash for Cameron: Murdoch's glee?

Rupert Murdoch surrounded by photographers Does Rupert Murdoch want revenge against the man who set up the Leveson Inquiry?

Hell hath no fury like a media mogul scorned.

Witness Rupert Murdoch's tweet: "@rupertmurdoch: Of course there must be a full independent inquiry on both sides. In great detail, and with consequences. Trust must be established."

And the Sun's editorial which says: "Millions will wonder if Osborne scrapped the 50p rate after a few cosy lunches with millionaire backers."

Could it be that Rupert Murdoch wishes to see the man who set up the Leveson Inquiry go through the same agonisingly painful scrutiny as he has?

And why not, many will ask, after the extraordinary video of the Tory co-treasurer offering to sell access to the prime minister's private dinner table and his policy unit. Shouldn't we be told which donors the PM has meetings and dinners with?

Number 10 are for now sticking to the line that what happens in David Cameron's private flat is, well, private. However, they must know that it is very hard to explain the distinction between what happens downstairs on official business and upstairs on private business. So, the pressure will mount, particularly as Mr Cameron himself has said that transparency "is the best disinfectant".

We are already told who gives money to political parties, but what access they get in return is not published. On the Today programme this morning Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude confirmed what the Conservative website advertises - that you can pay to have dinner with the PM by spending £50,000 to join the Leader's Group.

Labour has a rather more modest "Thousand Club", but Tony Blair's former fundraiser Lord Levy made clear that he invited the PM to dinners for big donors held "at private homes". These events are not and were not listed in the list of the prime minister's official engagements.

Some will assume that the only reason the Tories will not publish a full list of who their leader has met is because they have something to hide. We shall see.

Peter Cruddas Mr Cruddas resigned after footage of him apparently selling ministerial access emerged

There is, though, one other reason - a worry about where transparency will stop.

Downing Street already publishes the once secret, via the backdoor, meetings with Mr Murdoch and other senior media folk. If they now add donors David Cameron may worry that the list could be extended to people with other interests to lobby for - after all, don't doctors and teachers have interests which they argue for, or people with foreign passports, or cheerleaders for particular causes?

Should the names of family members and friends be published too in case they are privately arguing for this or that policy?

When the public loses trust in institutions they tend to demand a revelation of all the facts.

MPs found that to their cost after the expenses scandal. Rupert Murdoch is living with the consequences of the phone hacking scandal.

David Cameron may wish to protect his privacy, but I suspect that the lasting legacy of the "bluster" of the former co-treasurer, Peter Cruddas, will be that we will end up being told who the prime minister has dinner with - perhaps even in his own flat.

Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

What a difference a day makes

In just 24 hours, Sir Malcolm Rifkind went from angry defiance to a grim-faced acceptance that he would have to quit his job as an MP and chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee.

Read full article

More on This Story

More from Nick


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 473.

    The reason why we have a tory government now is due to Murdoch.
    He was and still will be the king maker.
    Sadly a large percentage of people in this country are unable to think for themselves.
    Not that I like the pompus twits that are known as the tories, but I do think that the media should be less politically active.
    Reveal corruption yes but don't pretty much campaign on behalf of a party.

  • rate this

    Comment number 472.

    Typical column from Nick deflect the attention away from the torys lets bring murdoch in lets bring in labour in lets talk about them but for Goodness sake don,t talk about PETER CRUDDAS "that man who resigned" Nicks very words on the news what a useless commentator

  • rate this

    Comment number 471.

    Cameron must be dreading the day he let Murdoch be indicted in the phone hacking scandal. It's shameful how people on such respectable posts are being dragged into such dirty controversies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 470.

    If interested in democracy, you will realize that 'the budget for politics and elections' must be distributed by us - the equal voters - with equal spending power

    If unsure, undividuals could subcontract decision to trusted IPA's - 'Independent Political Advisers', or give to an Educational Charity

    Unspent allowances distributed in proportion to willed support

    etc. (if and when of interest)

  • rate this

    Comment number 469.

    raven @468

    A democratic society pays for its own politics and elections

    Who pays the piper, calls the tune

    IF to be democratic, our representatives must set reasonable 'budget for politics', a lean and moral tithe for good, rather than a tax for bloated statist empire building!

    Those with 'no interest' in democracy (unaided in 1-3% psych-sociopathy, or just morally unobservant)... 'carry on'


Comments 5 of 473



Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.