At the beginning of December 2010, Vince Cable was the Minister responsible for the BSkyB decision, and he wasn’t minded to give it to Murdoch.
By 20th December 2010, a sting operation run by the Telegraph had ensured that Cable wasn’t the quasi-judicial decider on BSkyB any more – Jeremy Hunt was.
David Cameron, George Osborne, and James Murdoch all knew before 20th December that Vince Cable didn’t favour the NewsCorps bid for BSkyB and James Hunt did.
We know now, after this morning’s evidence at Leveson, that Hunt had let all three men know his views on BSkyB, and that George Osborne expected Hunt to “like the solution” of his being appointed to replace Vince Cable.
So I want to know;
- Whose idea was it to send undercover journalists to ask Vince Cable leading questions about BSkyB?
- Who was the whistleblower who made sure that Cable’s most indiscreet remarks went public?
The Telegraph were against NewsCorp getting BSkyB. So they can be acquitted of knowingly trying to influence the bid. But since they do not (as far as I know) make a habit of sending undercover journalists to chat with Ministers in the hope of their saying something indiscreet, someone gave them the idea of doing it to Vince Cable, in December 2010.
The chairman of the company behind the Daily Telegraph texted David Cameron before the last election to suggest the Conservative leader speak to the editor of his newspaper every day during the campaign to ensure his party’s message was getting across in the broadsheet.
Aidan Barclay texted the would-be prime minister in March 2010 after a breakfast meeting with him at the Ritz hotel, which his family also owns, saying he had “spoken to Tony G” – Tony Gallagher, the editor of the Daily Telegraph – and they would “arrange a daily call during the campaign as discussed”.