01/05/2012 Daily Politics


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We We find News Corporation covered up a cover-up of its law breaking.


Its most senior executives misled Parliament and the two men at the


top, Rupert Murdoch and James Murdoch who were in charge of the


Good afternoon. Welcome to the Daily Politics.


In a scathing report into the News of the World hacking scandal, MPs


accuse Rupert Murdoch of being not fit to run a major international


corporation. The Culture Media and Sport Committee says the Head of


News international acted in wilful blindness and criticised the


company of huge failings of corporate governance. We will have


the latest. I see a risk that City Hall will be recaptured by a bunch


of semi reformed trot skiists and car hating, newt fancying, tax


dodging banker dodging hypocrites. We will be talking to the man


himself. Dragged to the Commons yesterday to


defend Jeremy Hunt made Dave an angry. We will be asking if the


Culture Secretary is is safe or not? Was he good or bad? 15 years


after he came to power, your verdict on Tony Blair.


He started off well and with good intentions, but ended up not very


good at all. Well, all thea in the next -- that


in the next hour. With us is Charles Clarke, he was in charge of


the Department of Education. Welcome to the programme.


Let's look at the report from the Culture Media and Sport Committee.


Members of the committee read out a pre-prepared statement a few


minutes ago. Here is what the chairman had to say.


The committee went on to conclude, but only by a majority vote that


whilst there was no definitive evidence to prove whether or not


James Murdoch was aware of the For Neville e-mail or indeed other


evidence which indicated that phone hacking was more widespread, the


committee was astonished that he did not seek to see the evidence on


which the decision to pay the settlement to the Gordon Taylor


case was based. The committee also went on, again to conclude by a


majority vote that corporately the News of the World and News


International had misled the committee about the true extent and


nature of the investigations that they claimed to have carried out in


relation to phone hacking. And that they had failed to disclose


documents which would have revealed the truth. As a result of these


various attempts to mislead the committee, the report that we


published in 2010 was not based on a fully accurate picture. Well,


that was the Chairman of that committee and the BBC's deputy


political editor, James Landale is here. It is a devastating report,


particularly it seems having just seen the headlines for Rupert


Murdoch himself, where they state that he is not a fit person to


exercise the stewardship of an international company? The expect


expectation would be that the focus would be on James Murdoch and his


role in the whole affair and criticism of former News


International executives and that criticism is there. The bombshell


statement of opinion by the committee saying that Rupert


Murdoch himself is not fit to run a company is out of the blue. And the


political political significance of that is huge. Let me explain why -


the committee was not unanimous on this. It was partisan. The Labour


MPs voted for it. The Conservative MPs apart the chairman voted


against it. The Liberal Democrat swung it in the right way by voting


with the Labour MPs and in the statement that is the members of


the committee have just made, those partisan differences have been in


full show and I think the political risk and danger for the Government


now is that you will have images of Conservative MPs saying, "We did


not agree with the statement that Rupert Murdoch was not a fit and


proper person to run a company." And that's a darning for -- danger


for the Conservatives. This will go to a vote in the House of Commons


whether or not to endorse this report. The four Tory members of


this committee have not endorsed this this report.


What about in terms of the Murdochs and their global empire. How big of


a hit and how much of an impact will it have on that? Well, a huge


reputational impact, the mother of Parliament asserting this. This


will have headlines across the world. This will be hugely damaging


for them in terms of the reputation, but what does it mean in the short-


term? Ofcom are investigating whether or not Rupert Murdoch is a


fit and proper person to hold all the shares in BSkyB. Ofcom said


they have noted the report this morning. Let's wait and see what


their judgement is. And Harriet Harman was the person


who said that broadcasting licence should be taken away. Do you agree


with that now we have had that report in in terms of how the


committee felt? I agree with James about the political implications


and I have felt for a long time that Rupert Murdoch was not a fit


and proper person because of the way his papers were being run. But


the formal definition, "Fit and proper person is one that is a


legal definition and has to go through proper legal assessment. I


haven't studied the full report of the committee, but I think the


Ofcom process has to work its way through.


Briefly before you go, James, you know, the report concludes that


Rupert Murdoch turned a blind eye and exhibited wilful blindness


about what was going on in his companies. That That goes far in


saying, "They misled Parliament" but not quite in terms of the


individuals, corporate misleading, but not Rupert and James misleading


Parliament, is that right? There are definitions about how you


mislead Parliament and various former News International


executives have been accused of misleading Parliament over bits of


evidence they gave. What the committee found it harder to do is


pin it precisely on James Murdoch and say, "Did he actually mislead


Parliament?" But corporately they conclude that yes, Parliament was


not told everything that they knew as corporately was going on.


James Landale, thank you very much. It is time to look at another of


the candidates for London mayor and today, it is the turn of Boris


Johnson. Here are the things he is promising in his manifesto. He says


he will cut waste and City Hall. He pledges to create 200,000 jobs over


four years and promises to have 1,000 more police on the beat.


Boris Johnson claims he will reduce Tube delays by 30% by 2015 and says


he will invested �221 million into transforming local high streets and


supporting small businesses and Boris argues that his contacts will


allow him to secure a better deal for London from Number Ten. Mr


Johnson had an eventful campaign so Last night, we became the first TV


crew allowed into the inner sanctum of Boris HQ


Tonight, Boris Johnson is importing a campaigning technique from the


United States that effectively allows him to have a Town Hall


meeting by telephone with 50,000 Londoners all at the same time.


If you would like to ask a question, press star three and we have 1500


people queued up. Along with his campaign brain from Australia, he


took calls for an hour. I am actually a daily cyclist. I


love cycling. I am passionately believe in it. I want to see it


expanded. All done in a style we have grown


used to since he launched his bid for re-election.


I see a risk that City Hall will be reformed by car hating newt


fancying tax dodging banker bashing hypocrites and bendy bus fetishists.


A row that culminated after that debate on a London radio station


with Boris launching an ex- employeetive filled -- expleattive


tirade in a lift. You have got to get this on the air.


Stuff Donovan. (BLEEP) What has Boris got against us journalists?


How much is a loaf of bread? It depends what you are buying, but


I got one yesterday, �1.49. It sounds about right


right. How much is a pint of beer? Whether he is on the phone, on the


stump or on the TV, he has always Let's hope he gives me an easier


ride then. He is campaigning in Bexley Bexleyheath and and joins me


now. Can we get a reaction from you? We have had this devastating


report from the Select Committee of MPs, the most devastating bit is


saying that Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the


stewardship of a major international company, do you


agree? Well, I I haven't had the benefit


of seeing that, report, Jo, but if I digested your report correctly,


it is a divided opinion. Let's study it.


You don't back the report, even though it is divided, you don't


back that headline that he is no longer a fit and proper person to


run that company? Well, don't forget, I'm here out in


Bexley where I'm running to be Mayor of London and getting my


message out to the people of the city about what I can offer and the


plans I have and it is not number one on the list of people's


concerns here today. I can see a queue developing behind


you. What about the queues at Heathrow. It seems there has been


an emergency meeting, and what are you doing about it because the


images look terrible? Well, as I've said to the Home Office and the UK


BA this is something that does affect Britain's international


image. We have got to make sure that we process passengers through


immigration more speedily and we've got the Olympics coming up. I know


that the Home Secretary takes this seriously and the UK BA will be


getting on top of it, but it is vital that we do so. It is


indispensable that we have the aviation capacity at Heathrow to


deal with the economic growth that we all want to see and one the


pitches I'm making to the people of London if I may try and move it on


to the mayoral election is that I believe I am best placed to get the


funding that we need for this city, to invest in creating 200,000 jobs


which are funded in housing, transport, regeneration and also to


keep that funding coming from Government. I'm here in Bexley


where we have been able, go on... That is your pitch. Let me return


because you said yourself what happens at Heathrow is very


important for London and the Olympics. What does the Home Office


need to do? They cut border staff, was that wrong?


Well, I don't know the details of the operational management of the


UK BA. Business over the last four years, the international business


community and people in the City made the point to me that they want


to see Heathrow putting on a better face to the world. I think Terminal


5 has been a great success, but more work needs to be done and


clearly, there is a problem that needs to be cracked at the moment.


But, you know, if I may humbly suggest to you, I have got two days


to go until a critical mayoral election and it is vital for this


city and what I was going to say is I do think that I'm the right


candidate to deliver the investment for the economic health of London.


Here in Bexley and what I was going to say crime is down by 19%. That's


an extraordinary thing to have done in tough times. We've got more


police out on the street, about 1,000 more than there were when I


was elected and what we're doing now, we're putting 2,000 into the


safer neighbourhood teams to drive down crime.


Let's talk about transport since we were talking about Heathrow. You


promised that you would negotiate a no strike deal with the unions, but


there have been more strikes. Why have you failed on that? Well,


actually if you look at what has happened, we have taken some


strikes though the numbers of union members taking part in the strikes


has fallen. But still more strikes under you? What we had to do was in


institute some quite difficult reforms of the Tube to take some


cost out and move the system forward and my pledge to Londoners


and therefore, there were strikes which I am afraid we had to tough


out and get on with and we did go ahead with the reforms and my


message to Londoners is we will continue with that programme of


reform and improvement and investment.


But no chance of a no deal strike? In the next four years, to


modernise and automate the Tube, I think that's what Londoners want to


see. I don't think they want to be left behind by Paris or Singapore


and we can go forward with that in a way that I don't think other


candidates could. Boris, do you accept that


introducing driverless trains is going to lead to more strikes and


strikes are not what Londoners want. You didn't get a no strike deal.


You haven't talked to union leaders. There were 20 Tube strikes during


your four years and 16 under Ken, do you think your problem is you


don't negotiate successfully in order nor does Transport for London


No, on the contrary. What we have had to do is institute some


difficult reforms that were necessary that I'm afraid Ken


Livingstone totally failed to grip. We have done that and we will go


forward. I think actually you say there will be industrial problems


as a result of this, I think that hard working members of London


Underground staff look at these plans, they see the potential for


investment in the Tube network and recognise that if you modernise,


you expand the network, you get trains moving faster through the


tunnels, you increase capacity and actually improve the service and


you are able to employ more people. All right, let's talk... Common-


sense people see the advantage of that. There may be some anti- union


barons who resist it but I think they need to recognise the


advantages of what we are proposing. What about the cost? What about the


buss? Ken Livingstone promised to take the price of a single oyster


bus journey back to 2010 prices. Are you worried about the costs?


Yes. That's why we have not only kept every concession that


currently exists, we are extending it now to apprentices, people


who're in our expanding apprenticeship schemes and also


maintaining the 24-hour freedom pass for everybody over 60. What


I'm doing is getting Londoners off the age escalator that Labour put


them on so that as soon as you turn 60, man or woman in this city, you


will get a 24-hour freedom pass. Further more, we'll now negotiate


with the Train Operating Companies so that the freedom pass, the 24-


hour freedom pass works on the trains as well.


Why have you introduced the most expensive bus in the world, the new


Routemaster, costing �11 million? Well, that's I'm afraid complete


nonsense. What is? The opposition know it's not true. Let me explain.


Is it not the most expensive bus in the world? No. Almost? No, none of


these new buses are, no. None of them cost any more than the current


hybrid bus. Once you factor in the fuel efficiency, it saves about


�8,000 a year, they come in cheaper. They are a wonderful machine. The


house for Londoners is simple - do they want to go forward with a new


bus that is incredibly fuel efficient that has far less


emissions, that is clean, green, that has cutting edge British


technology that's built in this country, delivers British jobs and


the hop-on hop-off platform that was wrongly taken away or do they


want a bendy bus blocking the traffic which lost every year


almost �8 million in fare evasion and was known as the free bus. If


they want to go back in that direction I would like to know. But


that's not what they are Delling me. The Sunday Telegraph claims a Lord


Ashcroft poll claims 4% of black voters identified were


Conservatives. What is your message to black voters?


My message is the same that I give to all Londoners. I believe there's


a difference between me and the former Mayor, Ken Livingstone, and


that is I'm a Mayor who unites or tries his absolute best to unite


this City and bring people together. I don't look at Londoners as


divided up into this or that section or group. I don't try to


play one group off against another. I'm here to unite the city. There's


a specific criticism that your manifesto fails to mention black


voters other than in the context of crime. Do you accept that?


No, that's not true. No. Jo, if you had taken the trouble... Well, I've


got it here. You haven't got the whole thing. Hang on.


Overrepresented both as perpetrators and victims of crime


with a disproportionate number of black people affected by serious


youth violence. 86% of gang members are of black Caribbean ethnic


minority. That is painting them in a negative light. Do you accept


that? No, there's plenty of other stuff in this manifesto, the full


version of which is here now, which discusses what we are going to do


for all communities in London. I really commend the whole document


to you. By the way, just back on policing, I'm very proud to say


that under me in this Mayorality, we have more black officers in the


Met, we are going to go on with that programme and make it possible


for people to enter later in their careers so that we have a police


force, Police Service that better reflects London and therefore


carries the trust of the overwhelming majority. Boris


Johnson, is David Cameron a vote winner for you or a vote loser?


I think people - I'm sure all sorts of people win me votes or lose me


votes but... What about the Prime Minister, the leader of the


Conservative Party, is he a vote winner or loser? Obviously a vote


winner. This is something that is... Is he? This is something that will


be decided on my programme for improving this City and taking


London forward. Not the Conservative... When they look at


what we've done and what we are offering in modernising our


transport network, to investing 200,000 jobs, in delivering a 10%


cut in council tax. Yes. But Boris... Council tax by the way


which went up by �96 4 for a band B under Ken Livingstone. I think


people at this election can see a very, very clear difference between


our programme, my programme, what we are offering for Londoners over


the next four years and the programme there. That is the choice,


between going forward or going backwards. All right, but has the


Conservative-led Government been a drag on your polling? The proof of


that particular pudding will be in the eating in less than two days'


time. I know that for everybody I talk to on the streets of London, I


hope that people are listening to what we've got to say about taking


our City forward, about building a great future for London through


transport investment, housing and regeneration. People say, am I


different from the Conservative Party, am I different from the


Government, you know, to get to the heart of your question, and the


answer is yes, in the sense that I will go into bat for London, I will


go in to fight for London budgets. I don't care if plaster comes off


the ceeling in the Treasury, provided we get the funding that we


need -- ceiling. Only in the last couple of weeks, we got �...


going to have to stop you... Another �90 million for policing


and I'm going to fight for London. Thank you very much.


Charles Clarke, there is this strange situation that Boris


Johnson, who wants to be the next Mayor, and carry on his reign in


London is more popular than the Conservative Party and Ken


Livingstone, Labour's candidate is less popular. Did you think that it


was the right decision to keep Ken Livingstone as the candidate?


I've never rated Ken and I wouldn't have done it in those circumstances.


You are right about the overall politics, Labour will do very well


in London on Thursday in the Greater London elections and I hope


will take control of the Greater London Assembly. No doubt Boris is


running ahead of the Conservatives and Ken running behind Labour. That


may narrow towards polling day, we'll see. It will be a close call.


You must have been watching the campaigning? Yes. What did you


think of Ken Livingstone's campaign? I'm not a fan of him...


No, but? I think that... The polls aren't that far away though, are


they? No, they are quite close. What Ken's great strength is and


has always been, is transporting London from the conJess bion charge


zones and the other issue, he's genuinely committed to improving


transport and he has a much stronger record than Boris Johnson


on that. On policing he's had a strong record when Mayor. I worked


with him as Home Secretary to bring the neighbourhood policing into


London. Boris Johnson has made it his business to smash up the


Metropolitan Police by getting rid of its leadership which is


scandalous. Unfortunately, the other things around Ken, other this


than the two pluses, transport and policing, take attention away from


his good points. Do you think another Labour candidate may have


had a better chance of winning? Depends who it was. Tessa Jowell?


Not talking about individual candidates and I don't have anybody


in mind. If you think Ken Livingstone is the best candidate


for Labour, no. Other people might have done better, but if you ask me


plashs you don't know, it depends how it will work out -- particulars.


If you don't know your unity authority from your county council,


or if your maths is a little Rusty and you are not up to speed on your


wholes or halves or thirds, fear not, fresh from following Boris


around London, we send Adam to the south coast.


Meet Colin, street cleaning is one of the services provided by Gosport


Borough Council. This year, half of their councillors are being elected.


But the exciting sounding discovery centre around the corn iris run by


a higher power, Hampshire County Council -- corner. Not until next


year. Across the fairly windy harbour is Portsmouth which is a


unitary authority which means there's only a single tier of local


government. This week, they are electing a third of their


councillors? Clear? It isn't on the Gosport ferry where hardly anyone


seems to know their thirds from their halves from their wholes. Do


you know how in councillors are being elected on this election?


haven't got a clue. Do you know what proportion? No. About half


probably. Correct answer! That's something thousand. The was that a


guess though? Yes. Is your council a unitary authority or a district


council? I believe it's a County Council. Not entirely 100% sure.


don't know what decisions have to be made at county level and which


are made at district council level and I guess some of those I would


guess right and some would be wrong and I guess most people are like


that. Why have we arrived at a system that's so complicated?


are different needs in rural and urban areas. Secondly, if an urban


and rural area changes, because things change and towns grow up.


Throw politics into that and the desire to reform a system in your


particular direction if you are in control nationally and you can see


there will be regular reorganisation for Local Government.


Next stop Portsmouth's famous Spinnaker tower, to find out which


parties are on the up and which might be heading down. There are a


number of ways of working that out. First, you could look at what


happened last time these seats were contested back in 2008. Then, the


Tories had a net gain of 194 councillors, Labour has a bad time


with a net loss of 210 while the Liberal Democrats had a net gain of


14. What about the number of councils the parties control


outright? The authorities up for grabs this week, the Tories have 52.


Labour have 38. The Liberal Democrats control seven. You could


look at what the party's share of the vote would have been in the


local elections had been national ones. In 2011, the Tories were on


38%, Labour were on 37%, the Liberal Democrats were on 16% fpltz


And, because there are so many facts and figures, it means the


parties can use results from one part of the country to give a


distorted view of how they've done overall in the elections across


England. It's going to be a busy night! With


us now is the Local Government expert Tony Travers from the London


School of Economics. Take us through first of all the different


types of council, you know, that people will be voting for,


councillors that they'll be voting for, because not many people


understand the differences? heard earlier about London where


there's the Mayor and Assembly. In Scotland and Wales, all the


authorities are up, all unitary authorities, and in the rest of


England, we have a third of people voting in the big cities and some


smaller towns and cities, then in some of the smaller districts,


either all out or a third voting, there are some parts of the the


country in England without elections and in Northern Ireland.


For the whole of Scotland and Wales, large pars of urban England, people


are voting. The last time the seats were up was in? 2008, except in


Scotland where it's 2007. Let's look at the state of the different


parties. How well do Labour need to do? There's been a lot of


expectation management and they talk about 356. That doesn't sound


like an awful lot to me in terms of gains? If you look at when the


elections were last fought in 2008, Labour was in terrible trouble.


They were the equivalent vote share of that day, it was 23-24%. One of


their lowest? They are now up to 40. If they don't do as well in the


votes as the polls, there's a swing against the Conservatives. The


Liberal Democrats will do worse than that. If you add it together,


Labour probably I think are going to do better than 300. They would


say a lower number. 600 or 700 gains for Labour is somewhere in


the range between an average and a good performance. A good


performance would need to be up between 60 and 700? On the basis of


the current polls and where we are starting from and the mess the


Government's been in, add that together and I think that they'd


want to be winning 60 or 700 seats. What about the Liberal Democrats?


Last year all right not the same seats, but last year they had a


very bad night in terms of local election results. Is it going to be


as bad or is the bar so low it's got to come up? Compared with last


year, it's almost certainly going to be better for the Liberal


Democrats. There are fewer seats that are vulnerable this year and


anyway, the Conservatives were in a rather weaker position this year


than last. The Liberal Democrats probably no worse. Relatively they


are a bit closer if not slightly better for the Liberal Democrats.


Of course, the Liberal Democrats are still like everybody else going


back to 2008 as a starting point, this is complicated, I'm sorry.


But attend of it, the Liberal Democrats will not do as badly as


they did last year even if they lose a few seats. Because the


Conservative also take a bigger hit because they did surprisingly well


last year? Yes, because of the dynamics of Conservative Liberal


Democrat marginal seats and when the Liberals fall back, it helps


the Conservatives do better. question that you are always asking


in local elections but particularly perhaps in this sort of stage, we


asked Boris Johnson the same question - how much do people vote


on local issues? Does it vary across the UK or will the


Conservatives on the doorstep find it difficult because of the hoo-hah


It works like that, not only in Britain. It is worth remembering in


a sense the further West you go and north you go in Britain, you get


more and more independence and politics that is removed from the


Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat struggle, but generally


Conservative problems at the national level with affect the


Conservatives in Plymouth o the Conservatives in Southampton.


How well do you think Labour will do in the local elections across


England? You said you think they will do well in the assembly


elections in London and we don't know any of the results, but the


mayoral contest is harder to predict? I don't put a


quantification on seats, but Labour will do well in England. I think we


will do well in Wales. What about Glasgow? I think we will


have a a difficulty hanging on. Alex Salmond and the SNP are in a


strong position in Scotland and we will be doing well to hold Glasgow.


It will come down to the coverage, won't it, London and Glasgow, they


could be the big headline stories and that will mitigate gains that


Labour might make? It reminds me when Ken Baker was chairman of the


Conservative Party, Labour did well during Mrs Thatcher's premiership.


I think that is what the Conservatives are going to do in


reverse, they will do badly and Labour will do well across the


country, but the London mayor and what happens in Glasgow will be the


big issues. Did you pay attention to council


elections? Of course. Local elections and opinion polls and by-


elections are generally speaking a referendum on the party in power as


to what is going on. I say generally speaking because there


are local factors and you have got to look at that in politics as


opposed a general election which is a choice between two parties to


form a Government. You have to look at it and you should look at it..


Tony Travers, thank you. David Cameron was meant to spend


yesterday afternoon in Milton Keynes campaigning for Thursday's


local elections. Instead, Speaker Bercow dragged the Prime Minister


to the Commons Chamber to answer questions about Jeremy Hunt, his


Culture Secretary. It was a stormy In every respect with regard to the


News Corporation bid, the Culture Secretary asked for independent


advice and acted on it. He was not required to ask or or to follow


such advice, but he did so. He acted fairly and impartially and in


line with the advice of his Permanent Secretary. The Prime


Minister is defending the indefensible and he knows it.


Protecting the Culture Secretary's job while up and down the country,


hundreds of thousands are losing theirs. And we all know why - the


special adviser had to go to protect the Culture Secretary. The


Culture Secretary has to stay to protect the Prime Minister. The


Prime Minister has shown today he is incapable of doing his duty. Too


close to a powerful few. Out-of- touch with everyone else. I'm not


belilg this issue. It is not as serious as the eurozone and the


debt that we have to focus on. Let me say this, endlessly questioning


the integrity of someone when you don't have the evidence is bad


judgement, rotten politics and plain wrong. We have learned


something about the Labour leader today and I think it is something


he will regret. Why is the Secretary of State for


culture getting better employment rights than the rest of the workers


in Britain? Is it it possiblely he knows


because he knows whenever the Culture Secretary is in the firing


line that it prevents the bullets hitting him, the Prime Minister?


Well, the honourable gentleman has the right at any time to take his


pension and I advice him to do so. Ooo, you might say.


You don't think he should have done... It is a trivial remark. He


is rude. I am not defending him. He can defend himself. But to deal


with Denis's point which was a serious point by that trivial


little remark, take the tablets or whatever, these remarks come out, I


think it was pathetic of the Prime Minister.


Not prime ministerial? Well, he was angry, of course.


There is no juchtion no justification at all.


Haven't you felt like losing it when you are standing up? A big


issue for Prime Ministers at Prime Minister's Questions, you get angry


for things that are said in the chamber, but you have got to


control yourself and if you don't, you're gone and David Cameron lost


control of himself there. You think he did.


Has in your mind, Jeremy Hunt, done wrong in terms of breaching the


Ministerial Code? I believe so on the basis of what I have seen. The


rule that I've always thought was essential, the special adviser


speaks on behalf of the principal and it is in this case too and


Jeremy Hunt should be taken responsibility rather thang asking


a -- than asking a special adviser to walk the plank. The Ministerial


Code is clear that the minister does take responsibility, are you


saying how much advice that advisers work wheel to joule --


cheek to joule with their advisers? Everybody who talks to a special


add virer -- adviser believes they are talking on behalf of the


minister. I am certain in the special adviser's communication,


with all the other people, just like Adam verity for Liam Fox. The


minister has to take responsibility. I don't understand why the Prime


Minister has not referred this to the person who is supposed judge


the Ministerial Code. Well, he said, in justification,


that he might do that once Jeremy Hunt has given evidence to the


Leveson Inquiry. Many people argued your point that he is not the


independent adviser on the Ministerial Code and said so


himself? What has the Leveson Inquiry got to do with any of this?


Justice Leveson appears to be doing a good job, but it has nothing to


do with the conduct of the minister and the conduct of the special add


vieer. Should the Prime Minister have been hauled to the House when


we have had a statement from Jeremy Hunt and the urgent question


arguably didn't ask anything new and did we learn anything new?


didn't learn much new. It used to be a convention if the Leader of


the Opposition put down a question to the Prime Minister, that the


Prime Minister would have to come. And that was an important


convention over many years. It It doesn't happen very often?


happens rarely and that's why why David Cameron said he thought Ed


Miliband got it wrong. David Cameron's decision not to refer the


case is something worthy of explaining to the House and Ed


Miliband was right to bring him to the House and I am glad the Speaker


agreed. So he was called to the House and


we heard his angry tone. It is clear David Cameron wants to hold


on to Jeremy Hunt and you will remember instances where Prime


Ministers want to hold on to their ministers. He is clearly defending


him. How risky do you think that Strategic Rail Authority Strategic


Rail Authority -- strategy is? That's the case of bringing an


independent adjudicator. I think it does want to -- he does want to


keep Jeremy Hunt. There is a Ministerial Code and it has to be


acknowledged and the Prime Minister isn't acknowledging that and that's


a risky course for the Prime Minister.


We have the local elections and Jeremy Hunt won't give evidence to


the Leveson Inquiry million mid-May, do you think the excitement might


have dampdnd down -- dampened down and the media maybe off the the


scent? The media may go off the scent, but the moment that Leveson


comes around again, the media will be on the scent and it will


continue the issue over a period of time than would be the case. It is


political misjudged, but it is ethically misjunld. The --


misjudged. The think about the Ministerial Code, it is supposed to


hold ministers to code. We have established an independent process


with a senior civil servant to adjudicate whether this is or is


not the case. By not taking the opportunity to refer it there,


David Cameron is bringing it all on his own shoulders and I think


that's a foolish thing, indeed to It will go on inevitably as many of


these stories do. As we have been discussing, MPs on the culture


committee have been holding a press conference. At heart of the inquiry


has been the question of what executives at Rupert Murdoch's News


International knew about hacking and when the committee said that


the newspaper and its parent company had shown huge failings of


corporate governance. They said there was no definitive evidence


that James Murdoch, who ran the UK newspaper division, had misled


Parliament over what he knew and when, but the report said it was


simply astonishing that he and father, Rupert Murdoch, had not


realised the extent of hacking take place. James Murdoch was described


as showing, "Wilful ignorance about the wrongdoing." The most most


damning judgement was reserved for Rupert Murdoch in a series of


decisions which split the committee along along party lines in comments


disowned by the Conservative members, the report said that


Rupert Murdoch was not a fit person to run a company like the


broadcaster BSkyB. Some of the of the findings divided the committee.


Let's hear the differing views Everybody in the world knows is who


responsible for the wrongdoing at News Corp, Rupert Murdoch. More


than any individual alive, he is to blame. Morally, the deeds are are


his. Paid the piper and he called the tune. It is his company, his


culture, his people, his business, his failures, his lies, his crimes,


the price of profits and his power. No Conservative member on this


committee with a vote was able to recommend the report itself to the


House and and every one of us, while we shared different views


about the culpability of News Corporation and the degree of


culpability of James Murdoch in particular, none of us were able to


support the report and we all voted against it. That will mean it will


be correctly seen as a partisan report and we've lost a very great


deal of its credibility which is an enormous shame. The issue on which


no Conservative member felt they could support the report itself was


the line put in the middle of the report that said that Mr Rupert


Murdoch is not a fit person to run an international company.


The Conservative member talking about the report.


We are joined by Steve Hewlett and we maybe joined by committee


members as soon as they come out of their press conference, but it is


going on and it is taking longer than compted and it is -- expected


and it is unlikely any of them will come out before it finishes because


the report proved to be more devastating and scathing than


journalists like myself predicted. Were you surprised? I was surprised


how far it has gone. The focus is on corporate governance. What they


said about Tom Crone and Colin Myler, effectively that they have


lied. They said one thing in 2009... The opposite of that is true, as


much as a year before that. Interestingly, they point the


finger at Les Hinton. He is the person of whom Rupert Murdoch said,


"I would trust him with my life. I worked with him for 52 years." He


goes back to the to the to the Adelaide paper that Rupert Murdoch


started. Remember, he was taken out of News International which is why


James Murdoch took over and went to run the Wall Street Journal. The


evidence that, the suggestion there was a cover-up goes higher than it


was before. It goes to the top if you are


talking about the corporate governance and the words are


damning. We will come to the fact that not all members of the


parts of that report. But what happens now to the Murdoch global


empire because however damning this report is, it is a Parliamentary


Committee report and it is very important and devastating, but what


impact will will it have on the Leave aside whatever action


Parliament may decide to take ultimately about being misled and


figged to. There'll be a vote in Parliament and whether or not


people are called back -- fibbed to. The thing that is ticking in the


background is a decision whether BSkyB is a fit company to hold a


broadcasting licence. The reason BSkyB is controlled by News Corp


who own 39% of it, if this was a question about an individual


director sitting on the board who it transpired had lied or something,


then the easiest answer to that is take that person off and put


someone else on. If however what you are dealing with is a corporate


culture company, it's not that easily fixed. Step back from the


line that's divided them about whether Rupert Murdoch is a fit and


proper person, the committee say it isn't, that's split on party


political lines and the Tories said that the reason they didn't vote


for the whole report was because of that one line. Step back from that


line and there is plenty of stuff about wilful blindness, a cultural


ignorance and the rest of it. it's unbelievable that they


couldn't have known? essentially you have a company that


when confronted with trouble the first instinct was to cover it up


and that cover-up or that approach went on in the face of mounting


evidence for a very long time. They say that rather than having an


epiphany moment, they decided the game was up when they couldn't face


the evidence. Why is that significant? Because if you are


Ofcom and considering whether it's possible to regulate this company


at all, if anything were to happen that was untoward, no suggestion


there is by the way at Sky, a very well-run company, but if something


were to come up, how can you regular gate a company when the


starting point about the people you are talking to would be to lie,


deceive and dissemble. Do you think they may be more minded, bearing in


mind they are already investigating whether they are fit to hold a


licence which the Deputy Leader said they are not? Where Ofcom were


at I don't know, but if you take the report at face value and


discount the line about Rupert Murdoch that's divided them, it's


devastating. I think Steve's got it spot on, but I think there's an


additional point. It's very clear that there was a culture of conduct


in the News International papers was disassembly bling and dishonest,


I've testified to that myself when I was involved in politics it was


the case. The issue will be whether there has been a change over the


last recent period as people have understood what's going on and


whether that's a change. individuals involved have gone,


haven't they? If you are talking about Tom Crone Les Hinton and


Colin Myler. James Murdoch has been moved. In a sense would that be it?


James Murdoch sits on the board of Sky and is responsible for the


company's pay TV global strategy. What does it do to the reputation


or reputations of Rupert and James Murdoch? Well, it's not great is


it? To be accused by a committee - I mean some individuals have


different views and some are well- known, but there's a lots of them.


For the things they've agreed on to have happened in your company is


devastating. Rupert Murdoch said last week of News Corp we are an


ethical company only exist to do good. Hold that up against this.


That's why I wonder whether it was wise to divide the committee by


putting in a sentence that led to the tuition because the strength of


what Steve's said is a unanimous Select Committee which would be in


a stronger position. So are you saying that now actually this


report, although scathing in its content is weaker politically


because of that split, because of the four Conservatives are not


going to agree to those key bits where Rupert Murdoch is not a fit


person to exercise the stewardship of a company and in a way will then


have less bite, if you like? 100%. It's always the case that the


divided Select Committees are always weaker than individual ones.


The whole of the debate will be about the question about whether


Rupert Murdoch is a proper and fit person. Ofcom will have to make its


view. I think that could slide attention away from the big body of


issues that Steve's described which are in the agreed part of the


report. It makes it possible to spint, doesn't it? Yes, and what do


you think about that, how do you think they will present it -- spin


it. They've got to be careful. They've issued a statement saying


we are considering the report but apologies for anyone who's had


their privacy invaded, deep apologies for wrongdoing which we


acknowledge went on in the News of the World. So mea culpa again. If


they come out really hard and attack it as politically motivated,


even if you take that at face value, you are talking about someone like


Tom Watson, who has an extreme view on this, but hang on a second, they


put him under surveillance and followed him around. They went to


war on this. There's another thing here which says the integrity and


effectively of the Select Committee relies on the oral and written


evidence. They demonstrated contempt in the most play tant


fashion. This is like the old News International, -- blatant. These


are the people walking the walk, you know. So they haven't left that


culture behind in that sense? fairness they've done an awful lot


to change... They closed the paper and moved people? They have


compliance officers coming out of every available office now. So they


have gone to town an trying to change this. To say that they are


right on the edge here of a judgment being made about them by


Ofcom which could be very damaging and here is another question to ask


- is it conceivable that a News Corporation bid for the rest of


BSkyB could be contemplated in any circumstances in the forthcoming


period? Just very briefly before we move on and to look at Leveson. You


could say we have heard the evidence, the Government in cahoots


with sex abuse international and the Murdoch empire all the way


through the last few decades, the music stopped, bad luck for the


coalition? I think there's a degree of truth in that. There's a lot to


be said about 24/7 media, the relative power of News


International in relation to Labour and other Governments. I'm


personally delighted that the music has stopped in this case. But then


you need to say, what are you going to do about it and that's the point


Steve raise and he's quite right. Thank you very much.


Can you remember when this Well, it happened 15 years ago


today. Doesn't time fly in the fun world


of politics?! Mr Blair went on to become the most


successful Prime Minister in Labour history, but he was a controversial


figure who still divides opinion. Is the moodbox.


-- here is the moodbox. When Tony Blair was elected in 1997,


the sight that greeted him here at Downing Street were crowds of


supporters waving flags. He went on to win another two elections but he


was a man who divided opinion, not least on the issue of Iraq. Now,


today, I don't have any flags but I have some balls and our very own


moodbox. The question I'm asking is simple - Tony Blair, good or bad?


I think he's good because he keeps to his policies and does it well.


He's very firm on what he says and no-one can change his opinion once


it's said. OK so where do you want to put it? Go on. He started off as


a very truthful man and somehow became corrupted. Why was he


horrible? He ran away from the country, didn't want to be an MP


any more, did he? You put it in bad and I'll put it in good. We are off


Like all the rest of us, a bit good, a bit bad. Can I put two in?


Fantastic. I think he should stand accountable for what he made our


country do without our consent. Bad!


Afghanistan, going to war, I thought it was great, I thought


it's what he should have done. Iraq? Yeah. He was right to go to


Iraq? I do, yes. Hedging your bets? Pretty much even Stevens here,


although the bads seem to be just about winning. They're clearly the


man who won three elections in a row and divided the nation back


then is still dividing the nation now.


Tony Blair's speech writer now Times Columnist Phil Colins is with


us now. How do you think history will judge Tony Blair?


Very hard to say. In the classic clich, it's too early to tell.


is it too early to tell? Yes, on the big things like Iraq, it's


early to tell. There's an initial verdict entered which is not


favourable, but then you need time to end see. On domestic politics, I


think it's clearer. I think the Labour Government inherited a


public realm that was very poorly invested in and they did a lot to


change that. There was some improvements in the Public Services,


not nearly as much as there should have been given the money that went


in. There was a gradual improvement in those things, but I think in the


fullness of time we'll see whether in the grand sweep of history what


kind of a Government it was. much has been written about him,


not least by himself in fact. In terms of legacy which Prime


Ministers are always obsessed about, and Iraq is always the issue that


stands out as how Tony Blair will be measured, but you mentioned the


domestic scene. What is his legacy? If you count Northern Ireland as


domestic politics, you would have to say Northern Ireland is the most


shining example of that. That was a sore that festered for a long time


and is immesurably better now as a result of the work of Tony Blair


and successive Secretary of States. I think there's also, it's


instructive that in the last election campaign there wasn't a


single question in the TV debates about the National Health Service.


That's testament to a huge improvement over 13 years so you


would I v to say that there was improvements there and in education


too. One of the least heralded things which Charles will know a


great deal about, the falling crime of 35% over the period which is not


all attributable to a Government but some of that is. What about, as


a person, as a personality, because he's held up very often by those


that study political history and politicians and their success in


terms of his personality which for you as a speech writer arguably


made your job a bit easier because he was seen as a good orator and


has the charisma when speaking? made a lot easier. Partly the


personality but also knowing what you want to say. Those are the two


crucial components if you are trying to write for somebody. Hard


to write a clear speech for somebody who doesn't know what they


want to say in tend. Who could that be? All sorts of people. Not


picking on anyone in particular, in fact it's very comon, because to be


crystal clear on what you are trying to do is a rare thing, even


in politics -- common. I have said that before about David Cameron but


I wouldn't single him out, there are lots of people of whom that's


true. Tony Blair was absolutely had a clear sense of where he was doing,


which made writing the speech clearer. You could say 1997-2001


high watermark for Labour. Is that right? Slightly strong until 2005


when we were not sure what the future was. I agree with Phil about


the core services, crime, education and health and so on. But what we


desperately needed and previous Governments that have lasted a long


time also need is a sense of where we are going after that. Do you


think there is now? Has Ed Miliband got that? He's working on it. I


don't think it's there yet. I'm a fan of Tony's and history will


judge him well in many respects but one of my major criticisms would be


that from about 2004-2005, I don't think there was that vision about


where we were going to go. Gordon made it worse but he inherited the


position that Tony set up. We ended up in 2010 with the main reason for


voting Labour being we want the Conservatives and that simply is


not enough, we have to say where we are going. That's the challenge for


Labour in opposition now, Ed is working on it, I don't think it's


there by a long way but we'll see. Tony Blair's best speech?


The best speech the final one in 2006. The one with the great joke


about not running off with the bloke next door? The great Les


Dawson joke? Was that you who wrote that or Alastair Campbell?


Dawson. It was a collective thing. It was very funny! That's all for


today. Thanks to our guests, particularly to you, Charles Clarke,


for the whole hour. The One o'clock news is starting on BBC One now and


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