David Cameron: No 'grand deal' with Murdochs

 

David Cameron: "There's no great mystery here"

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David Cameron says there was "no grand deal" with the Murdochs in return for their newspapers supporting the Conservatives before the 2010 election.

The PM told the BBC he made policies because they were "right for our country", not to suit newspaper owners.

He said he did not believe Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt had broken rules over his office's contact with News Corp during its bid to take over BSkyB.

Labour is to demand the PM makes a Commons statement on the row on Monday.

Mr Cameron has resisted demands to call in his independent adviser on ministerial interests arguing that he wanted to hear Mr Hunt's evidence to the Leveson Inquiry on press standards first.

A Labour source said: "David Cameron is still trying to hide behind the Leveson Inquiry.

"With Parliament breaking up on Tuesday, Mr Cameron must come to the Commons and explain to the British people why he is ducking his responsibilities to enforce the ministerial code."

'No great mystery'

The News International-owned Sun newspaper switched its support from Labour to the Conservatives in September 2009.

But Mr Cameron said it was "not true" to suggest there had been a deal in which he would help the Murdochs' business interests or allow the BSkyB takeover to go through, in return for their support for his party.

David Cameron insisted that "there was no grand deal" between him and the Murdochs to trade backing for their company's ambitions for their newspapers in return for support for the Conservative Party in 2010.

There will now be many thousands of words written about the evidence for and against his claim.

That will do the government no good at all but Cameron's calculation is, I suspect, that it's better to have that argument now rather than later.

"It would be absolutely wrong for there to be any sort of deal and there wasn't... There was no grand deal," he said.

He said he had "wanted the support" of as many media chiefs as possible when he was opposition leader, so he could "take the country in a different direction".

He had disagreed with Rupert Murdoch on some issues, including the detention of terrorism suspects and a licence-fee funded BBC, he said.

"The positions I reach are because I believe them, I think they're right for our country. That's the platform I stand on. I do not do things, change my policies to suit this proprietor or that proprietor."

Mr Cameron has faced questions about whether he had discussed the BSkyB bid with James Murdoch at a Christmas party hosted by then News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks in 2010.

He told the BBC the party came shortly after Business Secretary Vince Cable had been stripped of responsibility for ruling on the BSkyB bid, having been secretly recorded saying he had "declared war" on Rupert Murdoch.

Mr Cameron said he could not recall all the details but it was "something like: clearly that was unacceptable, it was embarrassing for the government, and to be clear from now on this whole issue would be dealt with impartially, properly... but obviously I had nothing to do with it, I recused myself from it".

Influence claims

Responsibility for ruling on the BSkyB takeover in a "quasi-judicial" manner was given to the culture secretary.

Last week the Leveson Inquiry published emails between Mr Hunt's special adviser Adam Smith and News Corporation's head of public affairs Frederic Michel about the company's efforts to take over the 61% of the broadcaster it did not already own.

Start Quote

If he did breach the ministerial code, then clearly that's a different issue and I would act”

End Quote David Cameron Prime Minister

Mr Hunt has denied Labour claims they show the firm had a "back channel" of influence to his office but his adviser quit, saying the extent of contact had not been authorised by Mr Hunt.

Labour says the culture secretary himself should go - because the ministerial code says ministers are responsible for their own actions and those of their special advisers.

They have also accused him of misleading Parliament about whether he had published all exchanges between his department and News Corporation.

It wants the independent adviser on ministerial interests, Sir Alex Allan, to look into the matter, a call backed by some Lib Dems and Conservative backbenchers.

But in his BBC interview Mr Cameron said all the details would be "laid bare" by the Leveson Inquiry - to which Mr Hunt will give evidence next month.

'Fit and proper'

He said the email contact had been "too close" but said as things stood, he did not believe Mr Hunt had broken the code.

But he said he was ultimately responsible for ensuring the ministerial code was upheld and the issue had to be properly investigated.

"If evidence comes out through this exhaustive inquiry [Leveson], where you're giving evidence under oath, if he did breach the ministerial code, then clearly that's a different issue and I would act."

Labour's deputy leader Harriet Harman told BBC One's Sunday Politics it was "already evident" that Mr Hunt had breached the code.

She added: "Even more seriously than that, when he was responsible for acting quasi-judicially on a hugely important takeover bid of £8bn he did not act impartially."

She also suggested Mr Murdoch should be stripped of his broadcasting licence in the UK.

Asked if he was a "fit and proper" to hold a licence, she said: "I would say that should be examined independently and if I was examining it independently of course I would say 'no'."

 

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  • rate this
    +12

    Comment number 723.

    oh yes David in my school we used to say "liar liar your bums on fire" well we know yours is now an infurno

  • rate this
    -32

    Comment number 722.

    I think we should wait until the Leveson enquiry has made it's conclusion before we pass judgement on both the Prime Minister and the Culture Secretary. There are too many people trying to chew the fat before dinner is served, as it were.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 721.

    Give 'em enough rope is all I say.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 720.

    691.
    grumpysleepless

    See it didnt take long for the moderators to remove the my comment on Labour MPs fiddling expenses,I wonder why?
    ---------------------
    Off topic perhaps.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 719.

    Cameron should remember if you wont to fly with the Crows you will be shot down with them.

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 718.

    The government on the HUNT SCANDAL:

    "It was all done to one rogue adviser"

    The government on the CASH FOR POLICIES SCANDAL:

    "It was all done to one rogue treasurer"

    (sound familiar...)

    NoW on the hacking scandal:

    "It was all down to one rogue reporter..."

    LETS INVESTIGATE

  • rate this
    +11

    Comment number 717.

    it is all fixed
    they removed cable
    so much evidence yet mucdock is still in charge
    how can that be?

    bad examples everywhere
    pm blair pc blair mp exps donations prem footballers

    lies
    that you cut and not damage front line
    that cutting the top rate helps everyone it only helps the rich
    that privatisation makes things better and cheaper
    that the main parties provide alternatives

    dont vote for them

  • rate this
    +17

    Comment number 716.

    It is unfair to blame Mr Cameron after all He didd'nt know Crudas was selling Meetings with Him for £250.000 a go. He never knew Phone hacking was rife when He hired Andy Coulson. He never knew He was riding Rebekha Brooks Police gift Horse . He never knew Liam Fox was touting to Big Business. He never knew that Jeremy Hunt was working for Murdoch, He never Osborne was taking us into Recesssion.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 715.

    Cameron is beyond an embarrassment.



    Just tedious.



    The rest, including Murdoch precede him.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 714.

    So Cameron says no 'grand deal'. So why would a newspaper choose to support the tories? For fun? At random? It was a relationship that was symbiotic - Cameron got in - Murdoch got money. Simple. It was also a coincidence for Cameron to invite murdoch to his house whilst he bid for a public contract - now there's a procurement policy. Are we this stupid to allow this to go on? I hope not.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 713.

    Give a Tory enough rope and he'll hang himself.

    Pompous and arrogant.

    What do you think nautonier?

    Hahahahahah....Hohohohohoo......I love watching Tories squirming around on the end of a very sharp hook.

    It gives me much joy.

    Much joy.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 712.

    Thought Polititions in Thailand (where I have been for many years) were corrupt, but not clever enough to hide it. Same surrounding Countries. But now UK, US & Euro Gov's are often exposed to corruption. Why? Everyone has this access to data. 40 years ago, only info was thru Sun, Mirror, etc. supported by Gov. of the day. Still works! Why vote?

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 711.

    "I think all MPs should be fitted with a lie detector that gives them a 240 volt shock each time they tell a porky"

    We couldn't afford the electricity bill.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 710.

    657.nautonier: There was global awareness of phone hacking when Prince Harry's phone was hacked in 2003. The prince was too 'big' to be suppressed or ignored, so Mulcaire & Goodman stood patsy while EVERYBODY else went straight back to the blind eye. BUT Miller, Coogan, et al wouldn't let it drop. It simmered for a while then Dowler blew the lid clean off. 2003 was 6 years into Labour's 13.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 709.

    Not all that comfortable with this site, it seems to block any meaningful comment. Had a number of "non-posts" for no apparent reason, no swear words, nothing nasty, but still blocked. Any ideas anyone?

  • rate this
    -8

    Comment number 708.

    I have 3 questions:

    1. How many of the people on this rant actually voted in the last general election?

    2. How many we're in the nearly 15 million people who actually voted for the conservatives/libdems.

    3. Does anyone actually believe that the government and not the media run the country and have done since 1997?

    Finally, we are in debt to 1 trillion pounds - is this argument relevant?

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 707.

    There is now a little 'chink' in the Tory/Libdem Coalition armour caused by Simon Hughes the LibDem Deputy Leader, who publicly called for Jeremy Hunt to be investigated under the Ministerial Code. I believe he is acting with full support from Nick Clegg the Deputy Prime Minister. This is a warning shot across the bows of Cameron & Co.from their Coalition partners. The Coalition is under threat.

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 706.

    RE683,your having a laugh when you say the BBC are more balanced in their political reporting,did you not see Andrew Marrs show this morning when the 2 people on the sofa discussing politics were a Labour peer and a Guardian reporter,yeah right,thats typical balanced reporting!The BBC in my opinion have been and always will be the the mouthpiece of the loony lefties.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 705.

    The only way we can deal with this insidious corruption is to stop voting for any of the main political parties. Vote independent. Even though the person you voted for won't get in. The more people who vote independent now, the more people will vote independent next time & the vote will snowball. Labour, UKIP, SNP have grown on this basis. If you aren't prepared to do something, why complain?

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 704.

    It's been proven that Cameron is a liar, so why believe anything he says.

 

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