Miliband calls for Brooks's head

Labour leader says Rebekah Brooks should "consider her conscience and consider her position".

On last night's Newsnight, Tom Watson, who has pursued the News of the World with an unrivalled tenacity, raged against the party leaders for their collective failure to hold News International to account: "There have been plenty of hints to Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and David Cameron that something very murky happened with [private investigator] Glenn Mulcaire and the News of the World. They have let the Dowler family down tonight by not calling for a public inquiry... Politicians are frightened of News International and they need to act."

But Ed Miliband's latest intervention should go some way to assuage Watson's anger. In his latest TV interview, Miliband became the first leader to suggest that Rebekah Brooks should resign over the alleged hacking of Milly Dowler's phone. He called for her to "consider her position" and to "examine her conscience". Significantly, he added: "[T]his goes well beyond one individual ... This was a systematic series of things that happened and what I want from executives at News International is people to start taking responsibility for this, people to start saying why that happened."

It's a bold move given that just two weeks ago, Miliband attended News International's summer party with Douglas Alexander and Yvette Cooper (who led Labour's criticism of the News of the World last night). For the first time, he also demanded a public inquiry into the phone hacking scandal.

The key question now is whether Miliband's intervention prompts Cameron and Clegg to take a tougher line on the scandal.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Tory Brexiter Daniel Hannan: Leave campaign never promised "radical decline" in immigration

The voters might not agree...

BBC Newsnight on Twitter

It was the Leave campaign's pledge to reduce EU immigration that won it the referendum. But Daniel Hannan struck a rather different tone on last night's Newsnight. "It means free movement of labour," the Conservative MEP said of the post-Brexit model he envisaged. An exasperated Evan Davis replied: “I’m sorry we’ve just been through three months of agony on the issue of immigration. The public have been led to believe that what they have voted for is an end to free movement." 

Hannan protested that EU migrants would lose "legal entitlements to live in other countries, to vote in other countries and to claim welfare and to have the same university tuition". But Davis wasn't backing down. "Why didn't you say this in the campaign? Why didn't you say in the campaign that you were wanting a scheme where we have free movement of labour? Come on, that's completely at odds with what the public think they have just voted for." 

Hannan concluded: "We never said there was going to be some radical decline ... we want a measure of control". Your Mole suspects many voters assumed otherwise. If immigration is barely changed, Hannan and others will soon be burned by the very fires they stoked. 

I'm a mole, innit.