12 Jul 2011

D-Day for the phone-hacking scandal?

Labour is cooking up a new motion for the debate tomorrow and thinks it has found a corker. Having originally planned to do something along the lines of delaying a BSkyB bid until after the police investigation, I get the impression they are now proposing something a little more cultural, addressing the relationship between politicians and the press perhaps? Anyway, it’s designed to lure Lib Dems into the same lobby as Labour MPs.

David Cameron will have to turn up if Ed Miliband leads for Labour tomorrow which makes Wednesday even more of a D-Day than it was last week. The PM will want to have something to announce – a judge to chair an inquiry, the shape of a second inquiry? But he’s supposed to be proceeding on the basis of cross-party consensus and his meeting with Ed Miliband was in the diary for Wednesday afternoon. Expect No. 10 to try to bring it forward and spare a thought for the officials trying to lash something together at speed.

No. 10 hopes that the steam has gone out of the threatened Tory rebellion on press ownership. With yesterday’s convenient referral to the Competition Commission some water has been sprayed on the nuclear reactor and Tory chiefs think they may suffer a few abstentions at worst but minimal votes against.

And now we all wait for the Home Affairs Select Committee to quiz the senior police officers at the heart of the previous investigation, the very brief review of the investigation and the current investigation. The New York Times today says five senior police officers had their phones hacked into shortly after the investigation into News of the World phone hacking began ( thanks to Ben Brogan for pointing this out). By the way, it was the New York Times, watching British politicians creeping out of their bunkers and daring to challenge Murdoch, who coined the phrase “British spring” for the current events.

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