Rebekah Brooks’ position is untenable.
Nobody who has worked in the media can be persuaded that as editor of News of the World she had no idea what private detective Glenn Mulcaire was being paid £100,000 to do for the paper, especially as she admits she knew about the paper’s bribes to police. After all, she must have approved this fat consultancy fee. That’s what editors do – manage newspaper budgets. Of course she would have asked what Mulcaire was doing. Even if she had not, it’s simply unbelievable that no journalist told her where the salacious exclusives were coming from. This is not how a news room works.
And here’s her problem. There will now be a judicial inquiry into the matter and she won’t be able to maintain before a judge that she knew nothing. Lying to a judicial inquiry is beyond the pale. She will be thrown in gaol if she ventures in into that territory.
Its also tempting fate to believe that none of the journalists who gossiped with colleagues and lunched and drank with their fellow reporters will, once subpoenaed, admit the truth and say their editor was aware all along. Lie, to maintain the fiction ? At risk of being jailed themselves? You’re kidding.
The decision on BSkyB is now delayed. In the next three months we will see more toxic revelations about the illegal hacking. The police will begin to accumulate evidence and make arrests. Meanwhile a judge will set up his office and launch his own inquiries. All this before the approval for the 18 million pound transaction can be given.
David Cameron has no chance of polishing his goody-two shoes image if – in this very polluted atmosphere – he tries to let the approval slip through. Everyone knows he and his wife are part of the Chipping Norton set and close friends of Brooks and her husband. An approval of this deal when he is compromised by friendships will be politically
For Brooks there is only the Watergate question: what did you know and when did you know it?