Questions To Which (Lord Justice Leveson says) The Answer Is No
For pedantic amusement, John Rentoul collects interrogative newspaper headlines invariably answered in the negative. Here, he poses 10 queries to which the judge gave the same response, although sometimes couched in legalese
John Rentoul is chief political commentator for The Independent on Sunday, and visiting professor at King's College, London, and at Queen Mary University of London. Previously he was chief leader writer for The Independent. He has written a biography of Tony Blair, whom he admired more at the end of his time in office than he did at the beginning.
Sunday 02 December 2012
1. Did the then Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt favour the Murdoch bid for BSkyB?
"I have concluded that there is no credible evidence of actual bias on the part of Mr Hunt."
2. Did the Prime Minister look after Rupert Murdoch's commercial interests in return for the support of his newspapers?
"The evidence does not, of course, establish anything resembling a 'deal' whereby News International's support was traded for the expectation of policy favours."
3. Should David Cameron have refused to hire Andy Coulson as press secretary?
"For obvious reasons concerned with the criminal investigations and prosecutions (both in England and Scotland), I have not asked any questions directed to the issue of what, if anything, Mr Coulson did know and when, or whether, the assurances that he has given are accurate."
4. Should the police have refused to lend a horse to 'The Sun' editor?
"I am quite sure that Mr [Dick] Fedorcio's initial assistance in this matter went beyond what a member of the public could expect in similar circumstances, however, I have heard nothing to suggest that there was anything irregular about the loan of the horse."
5. Was it wrong for Dave to ride Rebekah's borrowed horse?
[The Leveson report does not mention this point.]
6. Was there anything untoward in 'The Sun' giving work experience places to the sons of senior Metropolitan Police officers?
"I do not believe that there is anything of substance in the instances detailed above."
7. Were the police corrupt?
"No one underestimates the gravity of the issue as a matter of generality, but it would be wrong for anyone to believe that corruption is endemic in the police service."
8. Did 'The Sun' break the law to get the story about Gordon Brown's son?
"I accede to Mrs Brooks's submissions, but not without a degree of reluctance.... It is possible to reconcile this apparent conflict of evidence without concluding that any witness sought deliberately to mislead the inquiry."
9. Did Paul Dacre's 'Daily Mail' use illegal methods to win scoops?
"I accept Mr Dacre's evidence that he never placed a story in the Daily Mail (or permitted one to be placed) which he knew came from phone hacking."
10. Did Piers Morgan hack phones as editor of the 'Daily Mirror'?
"There is no evidence that Mr Morgan hacked into any mobile phone and ... it would be unfair and wrong in principle to reach any conclusion that he expressly authorised the hacking of voicemails at the Mirror titles or was aware that this practice had occurred ...."
... and one question to which Sir Brian's answer is "Yes": Of all the interests I have investigated, including the entire internet, should I single out the British press for regulation by law?
John Rentoul's Questions To Which The Answer Is No is published by Elliott & Thompson, £11.99
49 The number of times David Cameron said "I don't recall", "I don't remember" or "I can't recall" when quizzed at Leveson
474 people submitted evidence to the inquiry at which 3.2 million words were spoken over 70 days of hearings. Fifty-one were press victims
9.935 kilograms is what a printed copy of all 1,987 pages of the report weighs
16 months taken by the inquiry. It employed 29 people and cost £5.6m – more than £1m to four lawyers
637 inquiry witnesses [337 appeared, 300 written statements]. Personal appearances included four prime ministers [Cameron, Brown, Blair and Major]
650,000 visits to the inquiry website from people in 200 countries
887 mentions of Rupert Murdoch in the printed report
1 page of recommendations devoted to the internet
17 times Rupert Murdoch said "sorry".
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