Monday 25 September 2017

Cash for access: Rupert Murdoch calls for independent inquiry into lobbying row

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch

Donna Bowater

RUPERT Murdoch has weighed in on the cash for access scandal facing David Cameron by using Twitter to call for an inquiry.

The chief executive of News Corporation gave his opinion of the row to his 200,000 followers after returning to the US following his stay in London to oversee the launch of the Sun on Sunday.

He made his comments after the exposure of the Conservative party's co-treasurer Peter Cruddas offering exclusive access to the Prime Minister to donors giving "premier league" sums of money.

Twitter: Rupert Murdoch - Great Sunday Times scoop. What was Cameron thinking? No-one, rightly or wrongly, will believe his story.

Mr Cruddas was secretly filmed by undercover reporters from the Sunday Times, one of Mr Murdoch's News International titles.

The media mogul, 81, offer tongue-in-cheek advice to Mr Cameron, saying he should have "just followed history and flogged some seats in the Lords, if they still have value!"

He added: "Predecents of centuries."

But Mr Murdoch attracted criticism from other users for his calls for an inquiry.

Twitter: Rupert Murdoch - Of course there must be a full independent inquiry on both sides. In great detail, and with consequences. Trust must be established.

His own now-defunct newspaper, the News of the World, was the centre of its own scandal after revelations of phone hacking emerged last year. It prompted Mr Cameron to set up the Leveson Inquiry, led by Lord Justice Leveson, into press ethics.

In response to Mr Murdoch's message in which he said: "Trust must be established", one Twitter user responded: "Trust built little by little, and then lost, is almost impossible to recover."

Another said: "Good luck with that whole trust thing, Mr Murdoch."

He later added: "Without trust, democracy, and order will go."

The Leveson Inquiry is currently hearing evidence on the relationship between the press and the police in the second module of four.

Last week, Mr Murdoch's most high-profile lieutenants, former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, was questioned by police over claims that journalists made inappropriate payments to officials at the Ministry of Defence.

Mrs Brooks has been arrested by police investigating both phone hacking in Operation Weeting, and corrupt payments to officials with Operation Elveden.

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