The transcripts of the official inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press.
Thank you, sir.
I wouldn't be so bold as to suggest that, sir.
Yes, I have to say I think that what's happened over the course of the last couple of years, perhaps over the course of the last year or so, I think is going to solve that problem for you. I think the possibility now of politicians not being transparent ...
It is incredibly difficult. I mean, one point that troubles me in evidence, if I can say, that's come out throughout this Inquiry, is the idea that a friendship is always based on some ulterior motive. People are friends, people talk to each other and that's certainly true ...
Well, the Prime Minister himself has said that he accepts that it got too cosy, and I'm not minded to disagree with him. I think that it's perfectly clear now, as a result of this process, that the relationships with the media have got in the way of ...
No, but the conspiracy, I think, suggests that this was a deal that was done some time before.
Can I make one point in relation to the theory that there was some kind of deal between News Corp or News International and the Conservative Party over the issue with BSkyB? Can I just make one very straightforward point?
If there was a deal, and if there was a ...
Yes, I do.
No, it's not the truth. The first point to make is that in between times it was clear that I'd supported Mr Dunn in actually trying to get Mr Driscoll's relationship with the News of the World back on track.
The other point I would make is ...
Inasmuch as I've been reminded of it both through this tribunal and before. Again I've asked for all the emails. So I don't know what the exact context of it was, I don't know what came before or followed afterwards.
My view was that the issues that led to the tribunal were serious, and should be taken seriously, and yes, I expressed the view that in my view he perhaps should have lost his job over it, but that didn't happen and I accepted the decision of the tribunal ...
No, I don't accept that. It was a reaction to a letter that he had sent to Mike Dunn and copied to me. I was irritated by it, I will accept, and I will also accept that my response was perhaps intemperate, but I do not accept that it ...
I'm referring to the judgment, the later judgment.
Yes. If I can add again briefly that I'd like to have seen the full letter before I was asked to respond to this. And I've not seen the full letter. All I have to work on is the judgment. And on the basis that -- I don't ...
The judgment, I think, says that it was a pretext for my desire to "gets shot of" the claimant. I never said that.
"Got shot of", yes. Sorry, my point which may be off your question, in which case apologies, is that the "can't be got shot of" seems to form a fundamental part of the judgment as coming from me, as being my words, and they're not my words.
It's accurate in terms of what you're reading. It's not accurate in terms of the sort of wider framework of the judgment because those words "can't be got shot of", misspelt here, were directly attributed to me, which is wrong. They are clearly a report of ...
Yes. I think that some of those records formed part of the case. If I can make this point, I've asked News International to furnish me with all the background to this case in terms of witness statements, in terms of my own involvement and anything else, and they ...
Yes, sir, that's right. I may be wrong about this, but my understanding is that the tribunal themselves do have a process by which they could have asked to talk to me.
No, I was working for the Conservatives at that point and I took the view -- and I've thought about this since, you know, was it the right decision? I don't know. I took the view that it would only make it worse if I then tried to intervene ...
I'm not sure that I knew about it in advance, but obviously it attracted some media attention once it got under way. I don't think I knew about it in advance of that. I certainly don't have any recollection of knowing about it in advance.
No, I wasn't, which is a matter of considerable regret.
If I did, it was after I had resigned. I'm confident of that. You know, I've tried to remember the exact chain of events. As you can possibly appreciate, it was a fairly difficult period and I can't be absolutely sure, but I think that -- I don ...
I don't think it's -- I don't think that it's necessarily a significant problem. I think that political parties have to, with the modern media, fight hard to get their message across, and also there's a -- you know, there is a personality aspect in politics that ...
Possibly. And if anyone was kind of thinking in those terms, I guess it would have been me as the person responsible for communications.
I think that moment came to a head with the Damian McBride affair, of course when we were in opposition, which resulted in some very personal stories, stories which by the way were published in News International papers, as well as other papers.
In terms of negative briefing?
Well, define "brief". I mean, I thought the question -- apologies if I misunderstood -- I thought the question was did I brief against people on a personal basis. I don't believe I did. But -- beyond their politics. But did I have strong views and would I express those views in ...
In my conversations with journalists I certainly wouldn't hide my political views, obviously. That was the purpose of the conversation. But no, I don't believe I did that.
No. My job was to -- I would certainly brief in terms of politics, but in terms of people's private lives, no, I don't recall ever doing so.
I don't think so. I know there were some parties where guests would arrive through the back because there's a car park through the back so it's a bit easier. In terms of Mr Dacre's meeting, for example, I have no idea which door he came ...
I don't know which door these other people came through, sir, to be honest.
No, I think he did come through the back door, as I think Mr Murdoch may have told you. I think that's how it happened under previous administrations and I suspect it kind of happened automatically, I think.
I wasn't in the meeting, but I did see him prior to the meeting and very briefly before the meeting and again very briefly after the meeting, but I wasn't in the meeting itself.
Which tab is that?
I don't know. I didn't get involved in that.
I don't know.
My experience of that issue is that when there was a promotion, Sky paid a price for it. You know, literally. I mean it was bought as promotional space. That was the main sort of crossover between Sky and the paper.
Not that I remember, sir, no.
I don't recall any conversations with Mr Hunt about BSkyB.
I don't recall doing so.
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