After the abundant evidence yesterday portraying Cameron as in the pocket of the Murdoch clan, the latest revelations show Osborne playing up a similar role. The first person Cameron welcomed to No.10 after he was elected in May 2010 was Rupert Murdoch. In June 2010 the news broke that Murdoch intended to take full control of BSkyB. We now know that Cameron met James Murdoch 12 times between January 2006 and January 2010, and then between May 2010 and July 2011 there were no less than 60 meetings between Ministers and Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch, Rebekah Brooks, and James Harding, editor of the Times. That averages one a week, and there were more but they were not logged in this way by Downing Street. Now we know also that Osborne had 4 meetings with Brooks during 2010, including 3 after the May general election. Brooks also revealed that after discussing the BSkyB bid with Cameron at a dinner in December 2010, she had a more substantial conversation with Osborne at a restaurant that month.
This array of evidence (and there may well be a lot more) is conclusive evidence of leaders of government consorting closely and at every stage with those who had launched the BSkyB bid when the public interest - the requirement that they handle this hugely significant bid with a semi-judicial integrity and detachment – dictated the opposite. To say that this was unethical is grossly to under-state the case. It stinks of corruption. The issue for Leveson, and the country as a whole who have been let down and systemcatically deceived with assurances (above all from Hunt, but from the others too), is not only which heads should roll, but how to prevent such corruption ever happening again.
Who will call to account the person, the Prime Minister, who is meant to be the guardian of the nation’s welfare and to be himself the means to call to account serious wrongdoing at the heart of government? A Prime Minister in hock to an aggressive law-breaking media organisation in ordder to keep the press on side and to curry votes for successive elections, clearly cannot do this. Parliament needs a new mechanism for extreme circumstances such as these. But maybe too there is a need for a constitutional innovation as the only effective means to check wrongdoing at the top of politics, and that is an elected, but non-party, President with the mandate to intervene, and where necessary publicise his/her interventions, where serious misdemeanours are becoming apparent.