As Kiran noted earlier, it was Michael Gove, while at the Times, who went out on the airwaves over a decade ago to defend Tom Baldwin over his investigation into Michael Ashcroft.
Here is must a sample of Gove’s prose back in 1999, long before he was Tory education secretary – referring to both Ashcroft and Lord Archer:
Everyone loves a good conspiracy theory. This one comes from Craig Murray, the outspoken former ambassador to Uzbekistan, who asks, “What’s in a name?”
Quite a lot, it would seem, as far as the Metropolitan Police is concerned.
Tom Watson to Rupert Murdoch: “Your wife has a very good left hook.” (meaning right hook)
Sir Paul Stephenson on Neil Wallis: “I had no reason to connect Wallis with phone hacking. I had no reason to doubt his impropriety.” (meaning propriety)
Every time Labour raises the issue of Andy Coulson during a debate on phone hacking, someone from the Tory benches (usually Graham Stuart, for some reason) gets up to ask about his press chief, Tom Baldwin, the former Times journalist.
Baldwin has been attacked by the prominent Tory funder Lord Ashcroft for an investigation he carried out into Ashcroft’s finances, and been accused of illegally accessing his bank details.
An interesting moment a while ago when Cameron pointed the finger away from the News of the World towards the rest of the media: in response to a question about the Mirror.
From Nadhim Zahawi:
During the ongoing Commons debate on phone hacking David Cameron refused three times – pressed by Labour MP Dennis Skinner – to say whether he had had conversations with News International executives about the BSkyB while prime minister. He said only that he had had “no inappropriate conversations” with the company.
Separately he insisted that any meetings with NI during the period were not relevant because he had “asked to be excluded from the decision”.