A member of the Co-alition Cabinet has met an executive from Mr Murdoch's News International empire, on average, once every three days since the Co-alition Government was formed 14 months ago. 20 Cabinet Ministers have met Murdoch executives 130 times in the last 14 months!
David Cameron, Prime Minister, was at at least 32 of the meetings, George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, was at 17, and Liam Fox, Defence Secretary, was at 17.
Mr Osborne's meetings included a dinner in New York with Mr Murdoch on 17th December 2010 - two weeks before the media's regulator was due to rule on Mr Murdoch's bid for full ownership of BSkyB. Mr Osborne seems very friendly with the Murdoch family. Besides the dinner in New York, he met Murdoch again in May 2011 and met Murdoch's son, James (Chair of News International) and Rebekah Brooks (News International's former Chief Executive) on three other occasions. Mr Osborne also met Mr Murdoch's daughter, Elizabeth, at a social gathering in June 2011.
The first media meetings by Jeremy Hunt (Culture Secretary) and Michael Gove (Education Secretary), after their appointment to the Cabinet in 2010, were also with Rupert Murdoch (were they reporting in?).
Murdoch Executives also met 4 times with Nick Clegg (Deputy Prime Minister) and twice with Vince Cable (Business Secretary).
In all, Michael Gove (Education Secretary) has met Rupert Murdoch 7 times on the last 14 months and he has met Rebekah Brooks 8 times. Mr Gove met with Rupert Murdoch twice in June 2011.
"How is the Government run? Governments tell lies to journalists and then Ministers believe what they read" - Karl Kraus (1909).
PS Andy Coulson worked for David Cameron as Director of Communications until he resigned. He was arrested in July 2011. He had left News International in 2007 but is believed to have had "work benefits", such as private healthcare and company car, paid for for three years after he left the firm. He has also had his legally fees, to date, paid by News International. These are believed to have run into hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Tory Party officials were giving categorical assurances, until recently, that Mr Coulson's only form of income was from the Tory Party during the years he worked for it.
It is unusual for a second paymaster, i.e. the Tory Party, not to know about the first paymaster because of tax considerations. Tom Watson, Labour MP, has written to the Electoral Commission enquiring about possible breaches of party 'sponsorship' rules.
'Curiouser and curiouser, said Alice'.
Wednesday, 24 August 2011
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