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Saturday, September 11, 2010

MPs accused of being 'frit'

In an astonishing development in the phone hacking scandal, Channel Four are reporting that members of the committee set up to investigate the affair shied away from forcing News International chief executive and former Sun editor Rebekah Brooks to attend a meeting with them:

After Mrs Brooks had repeatedly avoided being interviewed, four MPs on the Commons culture, media and sport committee wanted to ask the Serjeant at Arms, the Commons official in charge of security, to issue a warrant forcing her to attend.

In an exclusive interview, former Plaid Cymru MP, and a member of the committee, Adam Price says he was warned by a senior Conservative committee member that if the committee pursued this plan, the tabloids might punish him by looking into his personal life.

"We could have used the nuclear option. We decided not to, I think to some extent because of what I was told at the time by a senior Conservative member of the committee, who I know was in direct contact with NI execs, that if we went for her, called her back, subpoenaed her, they would go for us - which meant effectively that they would delve into our personal lives in order to punish them and I think that's part of the reason we didn't do it. In retrospect I think that's regrettable," price said.

"It's important now that the new inquiry stands firm where we didn't. Politicians aren't above the law but neither are journalists including Rupert Murdoch's bovver boys with biros."

Another MP has reportedly backed this recollection of events though the Committee's Chair at the time, John Whittingdale, said: "When it was suggested by Labour members to force Rebekah Brooks to attend, I recall a conversation with Adam Price in which the repercussions for members' personal lives were mentioned.

"But that had no bearing on my own decision to oppose bringing in the Serjeant at Arms. Nor do I have any reason to think there was any suggestion that News International would target our private lives."

It is difficult to know what to believe but clearly there was at least one MP on the Committee who was worried about repercussions and who is not afraid of upstaging his own party's Conference in airing his concerns publicly.
"In an astonishing development..."

Ieuan Wyn Jones (in charge of DET) actually took concrete steps to tap Wales' #1 asset: Welsh IP.

"The logical thing to do", but IWJ isn't into the 'logical song'.
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