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6.30pm LeftWatch: Ten Questions to Ed Miliband about phone hacking and Tom Baldwin

4.15pm ToryDiary: Cameron may have been lucky with his opponents but events have certainly tested him

Screen shot 2011-07-09 at 16.11.58 3.30pm WATCH: Coulson – "This is a very sad day for the News of the World"

Noon ConHomeUSA: Today's Republican and US political news

10.15am ToryDiary: An issue which will provoke more e-mails, phone calls, letters and surgery visits for MPs than any media scandal or Government enquiry

ToryDiary: "Robert Mugabe would be proud of David Cameron for undermining three centuries of press freedom"

Also in ToryDiary: Peter Oborne manages the impossible in 48 hours

Screen shot 2011-07-09 at 07.52.06
James Morris MP On Comment: We mustn't sub-contract "niceness" to the Lib Dems

Local Government:

LeftWatch: Saturday's newspapers and Labour's big beasts respond to Lord Ashcroft's attack on Ed Miliband's spin doctor

WATCH:  A new nation comes into being as South Sudan celebrates its independence

It's Fleet Street's J-word morning.  From the Sun to the Guardian, the papers unite to challenge Cameron's judgement.

  • Screen shot 2011-07-09 at 05.23.21 David Cameron and a stink of hypocrisy – Daily Mail

"Truly, it is a dark day for the Conservative Party when its leader, in a bid to save his own skin, advocates the muzzling of the free Press. Mr Mugabe would be proud of him."

"Mr Cameron showed poor judgment in appointing Mr Coulson to a senior position. It would be disgraceful if he compounded that mistake by undermining three centuries of free speech."

"There were those at the time who questioned whether Mr Cameron had not perhaps been cavalier in accepting Mr Coulson’s assurances at face value."

Clegg leapfrogs Cameron to say Brooks must go…

Screen shot 2011-07-09 at 08.44.36 "Asked if Mrs Brooks should consider her position, Mr Clegg replied: "Yes. I strongly believe that people need to be held accountable for the authority and responsibility they bear. "The whole senior management has to ask how on earth it could have presided over this without appearing to know what was going on. "She needs to ask herself some serious questions. Someone somewhere higher up the food chain needs to be held to account." – The Independent

…The day after the Prime Minister cut Murdoch loose

"David Cameron was forced to cut Rupert Murdoch and his newspaper empire loose from the heart of government yesterday as he tried to deflect public anger about his failure to tackle the phone-hacking scandal. Mr Cameron turned on Mr Murdoch's son James, saying there were questions "that need to be answered" about his role during the phone-hacking cover-up, and criticising him for not accepting the resignation of News International's chief executive Rebekah Brooks." – The Independent

What Cameron announced yesterday

"David Cameron said he would appoint a judge to investigate the allegations over phone hacking and promised that “no stone will be left unturned”.  He announced a second inquiry, starting immediately, into the “culture, practices, and ethics” of the Press and said the Press Complaints Commission would be replaced with a “new system entirely”.  Mr Cameron’s comments come as Rupert Murdoch’s hopes of owning BSkyB outright suffered a hammer blow when the broadcasting regulator Ofcom announced it would investigate his media empire." – Daily Express

And today, there are claims that millions of key News International e-mails have been deleted

"Police are investigating evidence that a News International executive may have deleted millions of emails from an internal archive in an apparent attempt to obstruct Scotland Yard's inquiry into the phone-hacking scandal. The archive is believed to have reached back to January 2005, revealing daily contact between News of the World editors, reporters and outsiders, including private investigators.  The messages are potentially highly valuable both for the police and for the numerous public figures who are suing News International (NI)." – The Guardian

Coulson arrested

Andy Coulson looking at camera "Mr Coulson was held yesterday over allegations of corruption and phone hacking at the News of the World. Last night as he emerged from a police station in Lewisham, South London, he maintained he had attended the station voluntarily, saying: ‘There is an awful lot I would like to say, but I can’t at this time.’He was released on police bail to return on a date in October." – Daily Mail

Cameron faces questions about Coulson…

"During a telephone conversation in February 2010, Guardian deputy editor Ian Katz told Steve Hilton…that under Coulson's editorship the News of the World rehired Rees after he had served a seven-year sentence for conspiring to frame a woman for possession of cocaine.  Hilton was told that Coulson could not have been unaware of Rees's track record of obtaining material illegally through corrupt police officers and other methods…It is understood Hilton regarded the information as sufficiently serious to report it to Ed Llewellyn, Cameron's chief of staff and the official in charge of ethics." – The Guardian

…And Miliband faces questions about Baldwin

Screen shot 2011-07-09 at 08.47.41 "Labour leader Ed Miliband was last night asked whether his chief spin doctor had a serious cocaine problem.  Tory peer Lord Ashcroft has accused Labour's Director of Communications Tom Baldwin of having been a heavy abuser of the drug for years in the past.  And yesterday he made new claims that Mr Baldwin may have broken the law while working as an investigative journalist." – The Sun

Murdoch empire threatened Labour leader claim (as the man himself flies into Britain)

"News International bosses told the party leader there would be ­“repercussions” if he continued his calls for the under-fire chief executive to resign over the News of the World phone-hacking scandal, it was alleged yesterday. The allegations, made by one of Mr ­Miliband’s team, came as former editor Andy Coulson, 43, and shamed royal editor Clive Goodman, 53, were both held over links to police corruption." – Daily Mirror

Other News of the World comment

  • British journalism has received a body blow but without a free Press we would all be poorer – Max Hastings, Daily Mail
  • Murdoch, the Napoleon of NewsCorp, has met his Waterloo – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph
  • Bullies and cowards who have killed a newspaper for nothing – Andreas Whittam-Smith, The Independent
  • The emperor has lost his clothes – Polly Toynbee, The Guardian
  • It's all Osborne's fault – Peter Oborne, Daily Telegraph
  • This all comes of following in the footsteps of Blair – Iain Martin, Daily Mail
  • The outrage over hacking is hugely overblown (and, by the way, here's the PIN number for my mobile messages) – Matthew Parris, The Times (£)

> Yesterday's ConHome coverage:

Electricity bills to soar

Screen shot 2011-07-09 at 08.49.59 "British Gas has stunned households across the UK by announcing a rise in gas and electricity prices of 18% and 16%, just eight months after it raised its prices by 7%.  The increase… provoked energy minister Chris Huhne to today demand change in the UK electricity market.  At a time when households are struggling with soaring food bills amid persistently high inflation, the price rise will add £192 to the average annual dual fuel bill, which will increase from £1,096 to £1,288 as a result." – The Guardian

State strangehold on public services to be broken

"In what is being billed as the biggest shake-up of public services for more than half a century, the Prime Minister will pledge to increase competition and reduce state control.  The reforms will enshrine in law the “presumption” that public services should be open to outside providers, allowing private companies to run schools and offer municipal services such as maintaining parks and running adult and day care services." – Daily Telegraph

Cameron faces badger cull decision

"Trouble? You may think that David Cameron has a enough on his plate, but it's about to get worse.  Sometime very soon the Prime Minister has to take a decision – if he hasn't taken it already – which will be immensely unpopular with a large section of British society, and which may even lead to problems of public order.  He has to decide whether or not to kill badgers…In practice, such are the potential repercussions, the buck stops with the PM." – The Independent

We still want changes to the NHS bill, says Shirley Williams

Screen shot 2011-07-09 at 08.54.05 "The government’s sweeping changes to Andrew Lansley’s National Health Service bill are “still not a done deal within the coalition”, according to Lady Williams, the leading Liberal Democrat peer who helped lead what she described as her party’s “revolt” against the health secretary’s proposals.  She told the NHS Confederation conference in Manchester that peers were likely to have “substantial ideas for improvement” to the bill when it reached the House of Lords in the autumn." – Financial Times (£)

Blair: Brown killed New Labour

"Tony Blair yesterday launched an outspoken attack on Gordon Brown’s record as prime minister, accusing him of losing New Labour’s ‘driving rhythm’.  Mr Blair said his successor failed to pursue the progressive policies that had turned the Labour Party into an electoral success.  And he warned the party’s current leader, Ed Miliband, not to allow Labour to retreat into its traditional Left-wing comfort zone" – Daily Mail

Religious education in schools "under threat"Daily Telegraph

American and French Ambassadors travel to Hama to show solidarity with protestersThe Times (£)

Seven BBC executives are still sharing £2.7mDaily Mail

Clegg delivers trailed speech saying Britain must help bail out the EuroDaily Express

Political News and Comment in Brief

  • National Express "got away scot-free" over East Coast failure – BBC
  • America reels over shock jobless figures – The Guardian
  • £9,000 fees for English in Scotland 'could make funding shortfall worse' – Daily Telegraph
  • Huge Muslim Brotherhood-backed rally in Egypt – The Independent
  • New disability test ‘will cut off lifelines’ – The Times (£)
  • The world still has $600 trillion at risk – John Redwood's blog
  • Michael Fallon, the artful dodger – The Independent
  • Lord Patten has done the impossible by making me warm to the BBC – Graeme Archer, Daily Telegraph

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