New book 'exposes links between Murdoch, politicians and police'

  • @_richardhall

A new book which promises to expose the connections between Rupert Murdoch's British newspaper group and senior politicians and police officers is to be published this week.

Dial M for Murdoch, by the Labour MP Tom Watson and The Independent journalist Martin Hickman, will hit bookshops on Thursday. Subtitled "News Corporation and the Corruption of Britain", the 350-page hardback, published by Allen Lane, part of the Penguin group, will concentrate on how News Corp's News International, publishers of the News of the World, Sun and Times, used its political influence to cover up illegal newsgathering techniques at its headquarters in Wapping.

Amid concern that News International's newspapers would seek to damage its launch, the title and publication date of the hardback were kept a closely-guarded secret until yesterday. Only a handful of senior managers at Penguin's headquarters were aware of its timing, and typesetters, who were still preparing the book for publication last week, signed confidentiality agreements.

The gap between the delivery of the final manuscript and publication is thought to be the shortest in Penguin's 77-year history. Mr Watson, who led the questioning of Rupert and James Murdoch at the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee last summer, said he was "very excited to say we've finally finished the book", adding: "I have a hunch it will be one of the most attacked books this year."

The project was overseen at Penguin by Stuart Proffitt, a veteran non-fiction editor who was suspended by Murdoch's book publishers HarperCollins in 1998 in a row over the cancellation of the memoirs of the last governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten. At the time, Murdoch, whose demand for the book be scrapped was resisted by Mr Proffitt, was seeking to expand his interests in China.

Disclosures from the book will be made at a press conference in central London on Thursday morning. The title is priced at £20 and will also be available as an e-book, selling on Amazon for £17.