Jack Straw and Rebekah Brooks met for gossip on the train, Leveson Inquiry is told
James Cusick is political correspondent of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday. As an experienced member of the lobby, he has previously worked at The Sunday Times and the BBC. His career as a journalist has been split between print and television, including senior positions as producer with Sir David Frost and at BBC Newsnight. He is also an award-winning golf and travel writer, working for over a decade as the UK contributing editor for one of the USA’s leading golf magazines. He broadcasts regularly for the BBC and CNN. He lives in London.
Thursday 17 May 2012
Britain's strangest commuting couple, the Lord Chancellor and the editor of The Sun, kept their political gossip to a minimum, just in case anyone on the Monday morning Oxford-to-London train was listening in, the Leveson Inquiry heard yesterday.
Jack Straw, Labour's former Justice Secretary, "made arrangements" to meet Rebekah Brooks and sit next to her most Mondays for two years from 2007 as they journeyed to the capital from their Oxfordshire weekend homes.
The revelation is yet another example of the close relationships that Ms Brooks had with a series of senior figures in both Labour and Conservative governments during her time at the top of News International.
Mr Straw told the inquiry that Rupert Murdoch "played a power game" with leading politicians, offering his blessing "in return for what he could get".
Mr Straw was Foreign Secretary in the critical run-up to the Iraq war. Although he admitted the importance to the Blair Cabinet of having pro-Iraq newspapers on side, he said "it would have been disgusting" if any war in 2003 had been influenced by Mr Murdoch or his newspapers.
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