Tag Archives: leveson inquiry

Nick’s second ‘Letter from the Leader’: featuring PMQs, Leveson Inquiry & tax-cuts for the low-paid

Nick Clegg’s second letter to members and supporters has hit my inbox… This week’s email focuses on two issues. First, the impending Leveson Report into what form of media (self-)regulation will be needed to ensure newspapers don’t continue to abuse their power in the way that was exposed so forensically during Sir Brian’s inquiry. And secondly, on re-inforcing the Lib Dems’ number one achievement from the Coalition: raising the income tax threshold so that millions of the lowest paid in society have more money in their pockets.

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On Twitter, Leveson, media standards… and Labour MP Ian Austin labelling Russell Brand “a disgusting, sleezy [sic], horrible creep”

I love Twitter and I hate Twitter. At its best, it is a brilliant way of enjoying a shared moment with friends and friends-of-friends, whether glorying in the Olympics or bitching about X-Factor. At its worst, it is a bile-filled bearpit, where opinions are sprayed with scant regard for their accuracy in the race to be first or funniest or most outraged.

For fans of cognitive dissonance, it’s a wonderful window-on-the-world which explains much about how and why the media works as it does. Lord Justice Leveson would have learned much from observing a life-in-the-day-of Twitter.

He would, for example, see …

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Lib Dems should back a judge-led inquiry into financial scandal

I get why the Tories are opposed to a judge-led inquiry into the scandalous rate-rigging practices employed by Barclays and other banks: their experiences of the Leveson Inquiry show how scandals, even ones that blend across the red/blue parties, have a habit of rebounding on the government of the day.

I get why Labour are in favour of a judge-led inquiry: so complicit were Labour (and Ed Balls in particular) in the catastrophic financial mess of the last few years, of which the banks are just one part, that they are desperate to appear transparent in the hope the inquiry will rebound on the government of the day.

But I don’t get why the Lib Dems are lining up with the Tories to oppose a judge-led inquiry.

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Norman Lamb: an extraordinary encounter with Fred Michel

It was Norman Lamb’s turn to appear before the Leveson Inquiry this afternoon. He dropped a bombshell in the form of handwritten notes (which you can see here) that he made of a meeting with Fred Michel of News International in 2010. The transcript is:

Wed 27/10
0900 meeting Fred Michel News International. An extraordinary encounter. FM is very
charming. He tells me News Int. papers will land on VC’s desk in next 2 weeks. They are
certain there are no grounds for referral. They realise the political pressures. He wants things
to run smoothly. They have been supportive of

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LDV Caption Competition: Clegg at Leveson “Through the glasses darkly” Edition

There’s no prize at stake – just the opportunity to prove you’re wittier than any other LDV reader…

Here’s Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg appearing at the Leveson Inquiry this week. What do you think might be being said or thought by or about him?

And the winner of our last caption comp is…

Some fantastic entries for our most recent caption competition, Cameron & Miliband “Cooee!” Edition.

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Politicians are not mere pawns in the hands of journalists

Understandably the Leveson Inquiry has concentrated on the misdeeds of journalists and the behaviour of newspaper owners. However, the appearance of a series of figures this week at Leveson could – indeed should – have highlighted how often the power lies with politicians, not the media. We had three figures appear who all, in their own very different ways, showed that despite all the talk of politicians been cowed by the media, it is far from uncommon for politicians to have far too much power over the media.

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Alex Salmond holds court at Leveson with added fun and games

Tonight the Olympic Torch arrived at Edinburgh Castle. There was one person who was unusually absent from such a significant gathering. I don’t know how much say Leveson witnesses get in choosing the date that they appear, but I can’t imagine our First Minister Alex Salmond would have deliberately chosen a court date in London over a major event at home in Scotland.

He didn’t look so disappointed, though. He had the manner of someone who was enjoying the experience far more than could be considered decent. Alex Salmond always loves going south of the border and holding court. He charmed …

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Leveson: Cable talks of ‘veiled threats’ against Lib Dems

From the BBC:

Business Secretary Vince Cable has said “veiled threats” were made against the Liberal Democrats when he was assessing News Corporation’s 2010 bid for BSkyB.

He told the Leveson Inquiry into media ethics his party was warned it would be “done over” in the firm’s newspapers if he ruled against its takeover attempt.

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Clegg’s triple whammy: intervenes on secret trials, slams those who ‘bowed’ to Murdoch, calls for reform of ‘broken establishment’

If Nick Clegg has time to keep a diary of his time in government (which I doubt) I’d like to pre-order it now. The principle of collective cabinet responsibility, together with the reciprocated determination of he and David Cameron to maintain an effective working relationship, means we don’t often see the reality of the behind-the-scenes battles between the Lib Dems and Conservatives.

Those which are made public — such as Nick’s very public disagreement with the Prime Minister’s veto-that-wasn’t at December’s EU summit — are deftly agreed in advance, allowing some grown-up differentiation to emerge.

But today we see three …

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Do you think News International could be done for stalking?

From our Facebook page:

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We’ve heard about Marr on Pack, but what has Pack said about Marr?

You will forgive, I hope, a bit of collective pride from the Liberal Democrat Voice team. It’s not every day one of our co-editors is mentioned, in glowing terms, at a judicial enquiry, as Stephen has already written.

To recap, Andrew Marr was talking about the authority and credibility of the political blogosphere. Top left on page 83 if you don’t want to read the whole thing.

“You look around and a lot of the most influential highly respected political commentators aren’t newspaper journalists, actually, they are bloggers. I’m thinking of people like Tim Montgomery on Conservativehome or Mr Pack

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A warm welcome for Andrew Marr’s change of heart on blogging

Here’s the BBC’s Andrew Marr speaking in October 2010:

“Most citizen journalism strikes me as nothing to do with journalism at all. A lot of bloggers seem to be socially inadequate, pimpled, single, slightly seedy, bald, cauliflower-nosed, young men sitting in their mother’s basements and ranting. They are very angry people. … Most of the blogging is too angry and too abusive. It is vituperative. Terrible things are said on line because they are anonymous. People say things on line that they wouldn’t dream of saying in person.”

And here’s Andrew Marr speaking to the Leveson Inquiry yesterday:

“You look around and a

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LDVideo: Leveson, The Musical

Perhaps some less serious points made here about the Leveson Inquiry into media regulation than were made by my Co-Editor Mark Pack here — but enjoy nonetheless…

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Leveson: it’s a good thing Nick Clegg was there

Today’s latest revelations from the Leveson Inquiry are a reminder of how wise it was to create a judge-led inquiry with wide terms of reference and powers. And who was it who did that when the Coalition Government was drawing up the plans, rejecting the talk of a lesser inquiry? Step forward, Nick Clegg.

PS I should have added that it was of course Lib Dem MP Adrian Sanders who was the first in the party to be calling for a judicial inquiry, following his experience on the DCMS Select Committee.

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Six thoughts on the results so far (UPDATED)

An update to my earlier post, adding in the YouTube clip and reflecting a couple of other pieces of news, though still pre-London results.

For the overall picture, see my views on BBC Breakfast from the amazing new Salford studios this morning:

Posted in Local government and Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 80 Comments

Opinion: I don’t think Jeremy Hunt should resign

Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a post I really wanted to write. But I don’t think Jeremy Hunt should resign over the Murdoch affair. Lord, I hate myself.

Anyway, ‘why so?’, you’re all bellowing at the screen. Let me explain

As of now, Jeremy Hunt has not been shown to have done anything wrong, and he maintains he has been whiter than white. The blame has been laid firmly at the door of his SpAd, Adam Smith, who has dutifully fallen his sword. Innocent until proven guilty and all that, so no reason for Hunt to go as yet.

Hence the …

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LDVideo: Clegg – we don’t need Hunt inquiry. Hughes – we need Hunt inquiry

Here’s Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg saying that the Leveson Inquiry is the best place for culture secretary Jeremy Hunt to give evidence about his role in the BSkyB takeover bid…

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Simon Hughes calls for independent inquiry into Jeremy Hunt

As the BBC News reports here, Lib Dem deputy leader Simon Hughes last night called for the independent advisor on the ministerial code to investigate whether the allegations that Conservative culture secretary Jeremy Hunt was too friendly to the Murdochs are accurate:

Deputy leader Simon Hughes has become the first senior Liberal Democrat to join calls for an inquiry into whether Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt breached the ministerial code of conduct. Downing Street says there are no plans to investigate the contact between News Corp and Mr Hunt’s ex-special adviser. Mr Hughes said he could not understand why the issue

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How Vince avoided Murdoch – an example of appropriate ministerial behaviour

Today’s Guardian carries a report by Patrick Wintour which shows the frustrations of the News Corporation camp as they tried and failed to develop the same sort of close relationship with Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable as they had with Jeremy Hunt and Alex Salmond.

The article outlines several fruitless attempts from senior figures within News Corporation to arrange a meeting with Cable to discuss their proposed takeover of BSkyB. Vince at that time had quasi-judicial responsibility for that decision.

My favourite part of the article is the response of Giles Wilkes, Vince’s Special Adviser, on being asked “when would be …

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Willie Rennie: Murdoch says “Jump”, Alex Salmond says “How high?”

Willie Rennie, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, has said that First Minister Alex Salmond has been sullied by James Murdoch’s revelations at the Leveson Enquiry.

Amongst e-mails filed for the Enquiry to consider, one from Frederic Michel, News International’s Director of Public Affairs, about a meeting with Alex Salmond’s advisers on 15 June 2010.

It’s on Page 80 here.

So, it seems that not only was Salmond apparently prepared to call Jeremy Hunt to lobby on behalf of News

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In other news… Richard Kemp for Liverpool, Kennedy on the UK, defection in Cambridge, Hughes at Leveson

Here’s a round-up of stories we haven’t had time to cover on the site this past week…

Richard Kemp to represent Liberal Democrats in Liverpool mayor election in May (Liverpool Echo)

‘He said: “I am standing because I believe that only the Liberal Democrats have the long term strategies which will place this city in a leading position able to create the jobs and investment which this city so badly needs. Liverpool needs an encompassing vision and direction that everyone in the city, residents, business and friends can buy into and support.”

You can read Richard’s own account of …

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PMQs: Beccles, Bungay, swivel-eyes and the hysterically happy DUP

Did you know that the happiest people are in Northern Ireland? Laugh-a-minute DUP MP Nigel Dodds told us so at Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday. The DUP’s Jeffrey Donaldson, on his feet following this announcement, bore something of a burden. Not known for his cheery disposition, a colleague twice entreated him to “Smile Jeffrey”.

High pantomime was the order of the day. Dear Gerry Kaufman seems to think that longevity in the House should be matched by longevity of questioning. Well into his sixth paragraph, it seemed, the Speaker gave him fierce winding up signals and commented: “The right hon. Gentleman has …

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