By Matthew Barrett
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Simon Hughes, the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats, and a distinguished fellow of the Yellow B**tards League, made an interesting appearance on Sky News this morning – interesting because Hughes refused to blame Cameron for meeting Andy Coulson at Chequers:
"I have to say, I think if you have a loyalty and an obligation to somebody who worked for you and did a good job, then whatever the implication might be, you might want honourably to support them and say "thank you", so I'm not going to be critical of the fact that David Cameron invited Coulson back once Coulson had resigned."
Hughes, in fact, did not just decide not to bash Cameron, he took a shot at Tony Blair:
"I'm much more critical of the fact that under the Blair era we knew, and this will all come out in the pubic inquiry, we knew that Blair flew just before the 1997 election to the other side of the world to meet Murdoch, we know that Tony Blair, three times in the ten days before the Iraq war was declared, was in touch with Rupert Murdoch"
This News International saga has been an open goal for the Lib Dem left to bash the Conservative leadership, and on the whole, they have been business-like in their media appearances and Parliamentary activity. Backbench Lib Dems made noises about supporting the Labour-created motion urging Rupert Murdoch not to pursue his bid to own all of BSkyB – and would probably have supported it regardless of whether the Government as a whole decided to support it – as they did in the end. Perhaps this is the new, post-NHS-reforms relationship between the Lib Dem left and the Conservatives.
> On LeftWatch yesterday, Paul Goodman urged Blair and Brown to publish details of their meetings with media figures, as Cameron has done.