Saturday 27 May 2017

The flaming hair is gone but fires still burning in Wapping

Murdoch's right-hand woman had to go, writes Ian Burrell

Why now? James Murdoch had promised she would stay to see this through. Rupert Murdoch had placed his hand on her back in a public show of support and said she was his top priority. And then, all of a sudden, she was gone.

Rebekah Brooks was announced as the first female chief executive of News International in June 2009. It was surely the proudest moment of her career. Yet a month later -- still several weeks before she had taken up the role -- revelations emerged on the phone-hacking scandal that had infected her former newspaper, the 'News of the World'. Then, for almost the entire 22 months she spent in her dream job, the problem glowed in her in-tray like a lump of radioactive material.

Deaf to the countless calls to step down, she clung brazenly to her post, safe in the knowledge that she had largely acted in partnership with the scion to the Murdoch empire, and that its founder regarded her like a daughter. They had discussed her resignation before but firmly rejected the idea. Until yesterday morning when -- finally but unexpectedly -- Rebekah quit.

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