SNP and Labour trade blows over Murdoch links

Amidst the almost hour-by-hour developments in the phone hacking scandal questions are now being asked over the SNP’s links to Rupert Murdoch’s media empire.

Amidst the almost hour-by-hour developments in the News International phone hacking scandal questions are now being asked over the SNP’s links to Rupert Murdoch’s media empire.

Reports over the weekend suggest Scottish Labour have submitted a list of 25 questions for Alex Salmond’s government and party to answer, including  when the first Minister last met with James Murdoch the News International chairman, as well as how much the SNP spent on advertising with the company in the past four years.

Outlining the party’s rationale, Scottish Labour’s business manager, Paul Martin, argued:

“There are a lot of unanswered questions over the SNP’s links with News International. Throughout the entire phone hacking scandal Alex Salmond has ditched his usual megaphone diplomacy and has been uncharacteristically silent.

“Alex Salmond has desperately attempted to come across as whiter than white by keeping schtum and resorting to his default position of blaming Westminster.

“He would clearly rather we all ignored the fact that he personally met with James Murdoch, wined and dined the editor of the Scottish News of the World and provided free articles and advertising to News International newspapers worth thousands of pounds.”

Responding, a spokesman for Alex Salmond dubbed Labour’s effort’s “nonsense”, explaining:

“This is embarrassing nonsense from Paul Martin – he obviously doesn’t let the facts get in the way of a bad press release.

“For example, the first minister was on record at a press conference last week calling on Rebekah Brooks to step down, and also gave numerous broadcast interviews supporting the Commons motion – of which the SNP was a co-sponsor – calling on News Corp’s BSkyB bid to be withdrawn.”

Scotland on Sunday, meanwhile, reports Labour are putting further pressure on the SNP’s links to News International after finance secretary John Swinney and his wife, Elizabeth, gave an interview with the Scottish Sun on Saturday in which the pair spoke of Elizabeth’s battle with multiple sclerosis.

Arguing it was further proof of the SNP’s links with the Murdoch empire, a spokesman for Scottish Labour said:

“There are clearly countless examples of the cosy relationship that exists between SNP ministers and News International. Scottish Labour will continue to ask the uncomfortable questions over the SNP’s links with News International. It is clear the special relationship between the SNP and News International is still alive and well.”

Describing Labour’s attack as “tasteless”, however, the finance secretary’s spokesman sought to highlight Labour’s links with News International, arguing:

“Labour’s remarks are tasteless and hypocritical in the extreme – what exactly are they objecting to?

“The Sun interview about John Swinney and Elizabeth Quigley living with MS and having a new baby was conducted in April – or some two months before Ed Miliband, Ed Balls and Douglas Alexander were quaffing champagne and oysters with Rupert Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks at the News International summer party in London.”

The development’s came as it emerged Mr Salmond has asked UK’s culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, to enable the public inquiry into hacking to be led by Lord Justice Leveson to consider the 2006 report by the Information Commissioner which outlined an extensive illegal trade in confidential personal information and made recommendations to government and industry.

Explaining that his government would be providing Westminster with a full document responding to the proposed public inquiry, the first minister said:

“We welcome the judge-led public inquiry announced last week into the appalling hacking activities uncovered and other illegal press practices, and are calling for its terms of reference specifically to include inquiring into the Information Commissioner’s Operation Motorman report of December 2006 – which documented breaches of data protection laws across a range of newspaper titles – and why no action was taken despite tough recommendations.”

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14 Responses to “SNP and Labour trade blows over Murdoch links”

  1. Left Foot Forward

    SNP and Labour trade blows over #Murdoch links: http://bit.ly/qO6REz reports @EdJacobs1985 #phonehacking #hackgate

  2. Matthew Little

    It's about time these hypocrites got called up on this. They are just as involved with Murodoch as DC is. http://bit.ly/pYigxI

  3. Brian Innes-Will

    The (rapidly vanishing) perception of prestige, unshakable authority and the apparent solidity of UK institutions used to be an insurmountable barrier to the Independence movement. There used to be substance in the parrot calls of ‘stronger together’ etc.

    The British state has methodically and successfully stripped itself of the aura and reality of strong central authority, credibility and deeply respected and respectable institutions.

    Former symbols of British identity and unity have been removed, privatised, downsized, demolished and have had their mystique and credibility destroyed.
    The rot began at the head:
    Dysfunctional monarchical family.
    Cynical manipulative PMs. and ethics/principles-free politics.
    Interchangeable ‘free enterprise’ platforms of the major political parties.
    Parliamentary snouts in trough scandals.
    House of Lords turned into a ‘buggins-turn’ joke factory.
    Corrupted taxation system creating non-dom and other exemptions for the privileged.
    The sheer incompetent stupidities of the military machine – MOD can’t account for three billions of materiel, etc. Aircraft carriers that don’t.
    Chronically unbelievably incompetent management of finance and the economy.
    The banksters fiascos.
    Now the police are mired in sleazy connections and suspected cover ups for the media.

    One by one the pillars of the British establishment have crumbled into a picture of decadence, decay, ever-diminishing credibility and complete loss of trust and respect.

    The trouble is that being involved in the slow motion train crash and committed to their party loyalties Labour activist are too close to the picture and too engaged in short term focus to see that the British Union is falling to bits in just the same ways that ensured that the Soviet Union went from world leader/rooster to feather duster in three short years.

    What is missed is that Scots voters are not so emotionally engaged. They have the detachment and distance to stand back, watch the slide from ‘Broken Britain’ to ‘Completely Irreparable Britain’ and no matter what desperate little deflection attacks like this are directed at the SNP, the voters can see, sense and trust the SNP in ways that Labour can never recapture – unless there is the equivalent of a ‘Scottish Reformation’ of a truly Scottish Labour Party.

    Keep going about things the same old ways – and you end up where you are pointed.
    Just thought you might need the insight.

  4. Martha Home

    sdf

  5. Martha Home

    Dear Brian,
    I am not sure of how you evidence your above claims, it just seems like you want to have a rant. In reality, and perhaps a cooler moment for you, you will realise that the time in which much of what you claim has been reported the UK was lead by Scotsmen (Blair, Brown). I also am appauled at what created the financial crisis and the huge problem that it has now left us all with (the cuts are no fun in England, Wales and Northern Ireland). Unfortunately, the reality is that the biggest failures where both Scottish banks: RBS and HBOS. Furthermore, remember that talk from the first minister of Scotland about how he thought it should one of the ‘celtic tigers’ like Ireland and Iceland. Hmmm, I think your problems may be closer to home than you realise and Scotland may have had a lucky escape….

  6. John Glenn

    Dear Brian,
    I am not sure of how you evidence your above claims, it just seems like you want to have a rant. In reality, and perhaps a cooler moment for you, you will realise that the time in which much of what you claim has been reported the UK was lead by Scotsmen (Blair, Brown). I also am appauled at what created the financial crisis and the huge problem that it has now left us all with (the cuts are no fun in England, Wales and Northern Ireland). Unfortunately, the reality is that the biggest failures where both Scottish banks: RBS and HBOS. Furthermore, remember that talk from the first minister of Scotland about how he thought it should one of the ‘celtic tigers’ like Ireland and Iceland. Hmmm, I think your problems may be closer to home than you realise and Scotland may have had a lucky escape….

  7. Ed Jacobs

    RT @leftfootfwd: SNP and Labour trade blows over Murdoch links http://t.co/f7kbH5R

  8. InternationalUNCUT

    Well Mr Salmond. It's well known you had "Meetings" before the last election. http://fb.me/T09em9db

  9. Robert Knight

    Boys, boys, boys… we’re being distracted. Lets just stay focused on the real issue; Labour’s comical hypocrisy. It’s like they have become some sort of terrible self-satire. Can’t they even pick their own battles properly? This is the sort of thing that makes me despair about the Labour party in Scotland. Truly dire stuff.

  10. John Rattray

    It seems from comments above that the Liebore Mafia are trying extremely hard to envelope the whole country into the mess that happened on THEIR WATCH. Where were the Liebore protests during the 14 years of the SUN backing ? Why does Milliband complain about the hiring of an ex News International employee when the Liebore party have done the exact same thing. Why does an extremely dipstick of an idiot like PRESCOTT think he has any right to talk about anything to the media. THIS imbecile is a disease that should be reduced for recycling for agricultural purposes

  11. The 25 questions over the SNP's Murdoch links | Left Foot Forward

    […] has for Alex Salmond and the SNP over their links to News International and Rupert Murdoch, as reported on Left Foot […]

  12. Leon Wolfson

    The brain eating worms are strong with these ones.

    Really, you can’t properly parody this – they can’t accept the fact that their party is in it to the hilt. The Prime Minister has broken the rules, even.

    Oh, and the sockpuppets jobs denial AND denial of the bank system the Tories wanted even less regulation on rolled into one. BaaahdaBOOM. Sigh.

    Piss off. There are actual people wanting to comment here.

  13. JP Edwards

    On this issue a politician of whatever party (labour, tory, snp, etc) can easily be accused of hypocrisy, as is often the case. Murdoch owns most of the major press!!! They all had to chase murdoch press coverage and grab it while it was available for votes. I think we have to be a bit more grown up about things than shouting the obvious from the sidelines. I think that we could see Cameron, Milliband and Salmond all hammered by this, and they all deserve it. Salmond will be shown to be in the worst of it, as he has the ability to just blame everything on someone else and not admit to his own short cominngs. Now his hens will be home to roost. Elite political classes telling everyone else how it should be, while the country in all parts slide away from what people want and need.

    Oh, and I guess we should not forget those that buy the papers. If we didn’t buy them so much would these things happen?????/

  14. Tom Robinson

    Laughable stuff from the “Scottish” Labour Party.

    Their bitterness about the Murdoch empire is caused solely by the abandonment of that empire’s support for the Labour Party in spite of the cosying up of Blair and Brown over more than a decade.

    “Scottish” Labour should shut up or no doubt the issue will blow up in their hypocritical faces just like the Megrahi issue eventually did.

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