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4 June 2012updated 07 Sep 2021 12:12pm

Hunt Leveson

By George Eaton

Two meetings with James Murdoch in opposition.

“So I moved to a different part of the quadrangle”.

broad sympathy to the proposed acquisition? I also

“The Murdochs controlled BSkyB, James Murdoch was the chairman of BSkyB, so I didn’t think there was a dramatic”.

“By chance we bumped into each other in a maternity ward.”

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Not to have “any external discussions”. 

“biggest merger that the media industry had ever seen”.

“I think I had a concern about the situation where we had this very important, very significant merger in my sector, the orgnaisations”.

I decided to cancel that meeting … but because they were probably wanting to have the meeting with me, that they weren’t able to have with Vince Cable.

To create a parallel process.

**** Mobile phone conversation with James Murdoch **** To have contact with stakeholders.

That was at my discretion. I didn’t want to get involved in the quasi-judicial situation. I thought that was my duty to do so.

I think having been through the BSkyB bid and the process that I’ve been through, I would take a different view about the relationship that

“I didn’t see the telephone call as a replacement for the meeting.”

Perfectly appropriate to have had a meeting with News Corp, with officials present, taking notes, setting out the ground rules.

He’s Secretary of State for the media, so he can keen hear. “But he can’t involve himself or make representations”.

“I think it’s likely that we explained it because we’d cancelled a meeting.”

File of txt messages: 16 November “Thanks for the call with James today, greatly appreciated.”

“Pleasure”. Call was successful, some reassurance was given by you

“I probably gave him a sympathetic hearing”.

“Thanks for call with James… Will work with Adam to make sure we can send you helpful arguments” Michel txt.

Robert Jay suggests a contact from Fred Michel where he says he will “continue to send helpful arguments” through Adam Smith, and which was acknowledged by Jeremy Hunt, suggests that Hunt new Smith and Michel were in fairly constant dialogue.

“Expressing my view. Not a decision for either me or the Prime Minister. Respecting due process.”

Memo, Mr Smith knew your view on this critical issue.

Mr Murdoch expressing his concern that there was bias in the quasi-judicial process.

My response to Mr Murdoch’s call. “It wasn’t a long conversation.” He was totally horrified that

“acute bias”. I suspect that was the phrase that he used to me.

“Am seriously worried Vince will do damage to Coalition with his comments.” Hunt email to Coulson.

Hunt email to Murdoch: “Great. Congrats on Brussels. Just OfCom to go” Europe would not block bid.

21 December 16:58 Osborne txt: “I hope you like the solution”.

“Not that you acquire a responsibility

brain wiped clean, that you set aside any views and that you decide objectively on the basis of media plurality.