Last night Jeremy Hunt had the gall to declare “the public will see that I conducted this process with absolute objectivity and scrupulous fairness”. In that case the best way to test that would be to do what clearly and unequivocally the current situation calls for since Hunt has prima facie broken the Ministerial Code – refer the matter immediately to the independent adviser on the Ministerial Code, Sir Alex Allen. Significantly Cameron has refused point blank to do that. Why? Answering that puts another piece in the jigsaw that is beginning to form around the role of No.10.
Cameron has been extremely coy about this meetings and contacts with the Rupert Murdoch, and with good reason. But we already know a good deal about them, enough to fit a pattern:
* Cameron met Rupert Murdoch 15 times while Leader of the Opposition, far more than he met the proprietors or editors of all the other newspapers put together.
* He met James Murdoch on 10 September 2009 to be informed that The Sun would be backing the Tories at the next election. This would never be offered by the Murdoch clan except as part of a deal yielding a counterpart of equally extreme value. The Murdochs wanted both the BBC and Ofcom to be cut down to size, but neither of these would alone justify the prize of The Sun’s electoral endorsement. The only thing which would have clinched such a deal would have been a Tory commitment to hand the Murdochs the 61% of BSkyB the did not own and for which they craved.
* The first person that Cameron saw at No.10 on taking office was Murdoch, to thank him for his election help, and it is inconceivable that Murdoch did not take the obvious opportunity to press his case for BSkyB and to demand that Cameron’s side of the deal should now be delivered.
* Altogether Cameron as Prime Minister saw Rupert Murdoch 29 times from May 2010 until the bid collapsed in July 2011.
* One of those occasions, as James Murdoch let drop two days ago in his Leveson evidence, was the pre-Christmas dinner party given by Rebekkah Brooks and her husband at their nearby Cotswold home on 23 December 2010. We are told that the BSkyB issue came up in the conversation, but only in a ‘minor’ way, if that can be believed.
* And now Cameron refuses to have any independent inquiry whatever into the Hunt scandal. Since all this preceding evidence points unequivocally to Cameron’s having kept extrtemely close to the BSkyB saga at all its stages, and very likely pulling the strings behind Hunt, his determination to block any further investigation and to close down the whole issue as fast as possible falls entirely into place.