The Leveson inquiry has finally arrived at the heart of an issue that has long bedevilled the UK media and political establishment – do newspaper proprietors get favourable treatment in business in return for supporting politicians?
James Murdoch, now the deputy chief operating officer of News Corporation, insisted angrily that he expected no more from politicians reviewing News Corp’s bid for the rest of the equity in British Sky Broadcasting in 2010 than to play it straight down the line:
In response to a suggestion from Robert Jay, counsel to the inquiry, that News Corp had courted Jeremy Hunt, the culture secretary, to get the bid through, he replied:
“That is absolutely not the case. Any question of support from a newspaper for one individual politician or another would never be linked to a commercial transaction… I simply wouldn’t do business in that way.”