The transcripts of the official inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. More…

But I do utterly understand. You have a limited time, you have a limited budget, you need to move on with the Inquiry.

So the question I would understand you're asking me now is: what is it about Module 3, which is a different module, that looks at the influence, if any, that the press has imposed on politicians, that may be of help to you, in the first instance, and secondly, qualify me for CP status?

What I think must be obvious to all of us is that whatever our problems in life, whether it be matters of complaint about unfair convictions or one has been, in one's view, molested or harassed by a newspaper or indeed probably any other matter, in the end, under our democratic system, we find ourselves, once all other remedies are exhausted, including the courts, in front of a politician. One looks to a politician for two essential things: one is perhaps an intervention on a particular issue, and secondly, to try and ascertain whether the politician could be moved to investigate matters of policy, because at the end of the day, politicians and only politicians are at the summit of power, because they pass law.

Therefore, this module is extremely important because it deals with the ultimate place of power, and what, if anything, the press has done or not done to distort what might otherwise be described as a proper democratic process.

Now, my understanding of Module 3 is that you are looking at the way in which the press has or has not influenced, beneficially or with malign intent, politicians, and secondly, to investigate what warnings people have given politicians or serving ministers about those same practices.

Obviously one of the ways you can do that, which is perfectly sensible, is to get the information and the evidence of politicians who have, in one form or another, found themselves harassed or intimidated or in some way or other negatively affected by the press. However, politicians, as much as we may admire them or otherwise in some cases, perhaps, are themselves coming to this particular module with a purpose in mind, with a focus in mind, which is to give honest account of how particular newspapers have lobbied them or have intimidated them and so on, and that is a very natural and healthy process for this Inquiry to investigate.

They may, either for malign intent, or more likely, because they haven't really thought about it, not been able to give your Inquiry chapter and verse of how they have let themselves down as a consequence of the intrusion into their lives of the press. They will probably say -- and I've heard it said -- "Well, I wasn't in any way affected by this and I got on with my job", and that is a natural reaction.

You ask what I can bring to bear. Over 20 years, leaving aside any complaints I made to the police and various other people concerned with my complaints, I also appealed to politicians. I visited politicians. I went to their offices with documents. I went to cabinet ministers with documents. I went to a whole range of politicians of different stripe and with different interest and responsibilities.

Prior to doing so, over many years, I had experience of dealing with politicians. When I was an investment banking banker, I dealt a lot with politicians on matters of international trade and policies of this kind, and although from time to time, one recognised that a particular issue was complicated, nevertheless the politicians seem open and willing and generally constructive to look at any matter you may be raising.

However, there was an absolutely unambiguous line of yellow eyes, of eyes turning to the ceiling, when I raised matters with politicians about the media. It is absolutely incomparably different. Every other case in my life, when I have gone to a politician for one reason or another -- as you will know, I ran an entertainments company. I was often talking to politicians about policy, licensing, drugs. I always found politicians open and willing to engage on a particular subject.

So the experience I bring to this Inquiry is absolute direct experience, over 20 years, of the way politicians have in fact reacted to issues that come to them about the press, and the perception -- the actuality of them saying, "Well, they're a force outside our capacity", and clearly a sense of unease that they had no vires or no powers or there was too much risk associated.

I should just tell you, your Honour, that in the course of this 20-year campaign, or that process, I spoke to politicians who told me of the close links between one political party and a particular newspaper, and one politician, a House of Lords member, actually told me: "Well, we might be able to help because we have special friends in that newspaper."

Now, as it turned out, he wasn't able to help, very possibly because someone up the line felt that newspaper didn't want to be embarrassed --

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