Rebekah Brooks reveals Murdoch’s reach into the heart of government

More than just good friends

Ben Norman, Portsmouth Socialist Party

Many people will have felt a sense of relief when it was announced
that Rebekah Brooks, former editor of the News of the World (NoTW) and
chief executive of News International,
is to face charges of perverting the course of justice. Brooks was
arrested in July following one of the three police investigations
connected to phone hacking.

But the buck doesn’t stop with Brooks. Her testimony at the Leveson
Inquiry drags both David Cameron and George Osborne into the political
storm as the links between Rupert Murdoch’s media empire and the Tory
party are found to extend into the heart of government. Brooks was questioned for five hours about her relationship with Cameron and senior Tory and New Labour politicians.

Brooks is known to be a family friend of Cameron, to the extent that
when she was fired from her position at News International the Prime
Minister sent her text messages of support, bemoaning that he could not
show public loyalty towards her. How many workers got this treatment
when their jobs were cut?

Political allegiances

Brooks’ testimony made it clear that she has been in regular contact
with Cameron throughout his time as Tory leader. She also claimed to
have been instrumental in the decision to switch the political support
of The Sun from New Labour to the Tories just before the 2010 general
election.

Osborne has also been put under increased pressure after it emerged that both Brooks and Andy Coulson
were invited to the chancellor’s official residence while News
International executives were drawing up proposals for the takeover of
BSkyB.

At the time Coulson was serving as Cameron’s director of
communications following his sacking from the NoTW in 2007 over phone
hacking.

Tory culture secretary Jeremy Hunt is already preparing to appear
before the Inquiry to face accusations that he acted as a cheerleader
for Murdoch’s bid while he was supposed to be impartially presiding over
the takeover process.

If Osborne is also forced to appear he can expect to be questioned on
Brooks’ claim that she was tipped off during her visit to his residence
that Hunt would make “extremely helpful” statements during the bid
process.

The phone hacking scandal has so fully exposed the corruption within
the coalition that it is amazing so few members of it have been forced
to resign. If the Labour Party was an opposition worthy of the name, the
government could be on its way out.

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