Simon Carr: The war with Murdoch is off: Hunt announces peace in our time

Share
Related Topics

It shows that MPs must still retain some respect from the public: we don't expect them to be afraid of anyone. But whenever Tom Watson stands up to ask about phone hacking, or the Sky bid – anything to do with Rupert Murdoch – the House goes into silence: the fuller the House, the deeper the silence. It's to do with fear. MPs are afraid of the power of News International.

To his credit, it's a fear that Watson has dealt with. What's he got to hide, you ask? Consider what a trawl through your own texts, emails, voicemails, dustbins, credit card statements and internet history would produce. And if you are happy to have it all on the front of the News of the World you're one in a million.

Should Rupert Murdoch be allowed to increase his stake in Britain's media? There isn't a "fit and proper person" clause in the relevant Act, but there's something a bit like it in Section 58 which says that media companies shouldn't be a bunch of criminals engaged in a conspiracy with criminals to commit crimes.

Watson related how the chief executive of News International Rebekah Brooks "openly and brazenly" admitted paying police officers for evidence. Her company is the subject of three separate police inquiries, the evidence is emerging of a conspiracy between criminals hacking detectives' phones, he said, of a senior executive collaborating with one career criminal in jail at the time, and criminals under contract to the company targeting a parent of the children murdered by Ian Huntley in Soham.

Watson's quiet voice was all the more effective for its lack of indignation.

The Culture Minister, Jeremy Hunt, had been given this piece of business remember, after Vince Cable said he was "declaring war" on Rupert Murdoch. Hunt was summoned to the Commons by the Speaker. There would be no war. He waved a piece of paper and announced peace in our time.

He passed the responsibility for the decision on to advisers, lawyers and regulators – all of whom were advising there was nothing to stop the deal proceeding. He ignored Section 58.

But was Murdoch to be trusted? "It is not an issue of trust," he said. "These undertakings are legally binding and legally enforceable."

Not an issue of trust! That did cause laughter in the Gallery. Jeremy Hunt was going through puberty when Murdoch bought The Times and, despite binding undertakings not to interfere, sacked the most popular editor in Britain at the time. You can always trust Rupert Murdoch.



React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Assistant / Credit Controller

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are an award-winning digit...

Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform Engineer - VMware / SAN / Tier3 DC

£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...

Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Assistant

£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Labour and the Liberal Democrats would both end winter fuel allowances for pensioners with enough income to pay the 40p tax rate  

Politicians court the grey vote because pensioners, unlike the young, vote

Andrew Grice
US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping have a drink after agreeing a deal on carbon emissions  

Beijing must face down the perils of being big and powerful – or boom may turn to bust

Peter Popham
Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable