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.

Tweets by @garygibbonblog

3 reader comments

  1. Stephen Cohen says:

    If Labour really wished to keep the dovecote in a flurry they could propose a motion that ” this House believes that News Corp is not a fit or proper entity to own a stake in any UK media organisation” . That should do it!

  2. Philip Edwards says:


    How quaint, “a threatened Tory rebellion on press ownership”!

    Turkeys do not vote for Christmas and lickspittles aren’t going to get rid of their main sponsors.

    There might be one or two Tories who have a troubled conscience but it isn’t going to translate into anything worthwhile. It never does.

    Don’t kid yourself this is D Day. It is little more than parliamentary theatre. It is the next six months that matter, when every effort will be made to obscure or dismiss the issue until it simply beats itself out.

    We have had this kind of thing before. Example, the Al Yamamah arms deal that led directly to the corrupt leaders of Britain’s military industrial complex – you will recall right wing Tony Blair just stepped in and stopped the inquiry into extensive corruption here and in Saudi Arabia. There are plenty of other examples.

    And the so-called “British Spring” will go exactly the same way as the so-called “Arab Spring.” That is, likely nowhere. After all, long term, Watergate was merely an inconvenient hump on the road of American corruption and war mongering.

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