What is Boris up to? When asked about David Cameron’s future this afternoon, he replied:
I’m not here to discuss government appointments. Those questions you must address to government. I don’t think there’s a very clear read across [from Sir Paul Stephenson hiring Neil Wallis to Mr Cameron hiring Andy Coulson]. This is a matter you must address to Number 10 Downing Street.
David Cameron tried his best to look interested during a lengthy business Q&A just now at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange; but his mind is undoubtedly elsewhere, several thousand miles to the north, where the phone hacking saga is yielding new twists and turns by the hour.
But he looked a bit more alert when Jason Groves of the Daily Mail – alluding to Ed Miliband’s comments this morning – asked whether he was considering his position as prime minister. Read more
One business leader is notably absent from today’s tour of South Africa: Colin Walton, chairman of Bombardier.
Only last week MP Heather Wheeler told Westminster Hall that Walton would be on the trade trip. By the end of the week, however, his name had disappeared from the draft list. Read more
Sir Paul Stephenson
Sir Paul Stephenson’s resignation yesterday was a significant moment in the phone hacking affair: not only because of the fact of his resigning but because of what he said afterwards.
He made two subtle but important criticisms of the prime minister:
1) He said he had resigned in part for having employed Neil Wallis, the former deputy editor of the News of the World, who has since been arrested, but did not have to resign from the NotW for his part in the scandal. He compared this to Andy Coulson, who had been forced to resign, but was also given subsequent employment – by the prime minister. Read more