Despite the very difficult last 48 hours the mood at a mass gathering of MPs and candidates last night for a big dinner was said to be good. The Daily Mail and Sun have both swung into action today – The Mail rightly suggesting that the potential scandal is really Peter Mandelson’s links with Oleg Deripaska and The Sun complaining about the BBC’s biased coverage.
Daily Mail leader: "[The George Osborne affair] is no cash-for-peerages or Formula 1 scandal. There is no
suggestion that Mr Osborne actually did anything remotely illegal. The
fact is neither he nor the Tory Party accepted a penny from Mr
Deripaska. Indeed, even if he had asked for a donation – which he hotly
denies – that would not have been against the law… If there is to be
an inquiry, it should be into the far more serious question of whether
Peter Mandelson allowed his friendship with Mr Deripaska to influence
EU policy on aluminium tariffs? After all, we know that a decision
taken when Lord Mandelson was EU Trade Commissioner benefited Mr
Deripaska’s companies to the tune of £50million a year."
The Sun Says: "The integrity of the BBC is coming under question for the way it
has treated the case of the Russian billionaire and his British
contacts. Hundreds of viewers are complaining of unbalanced reporting —
and with good reason. According to its own internal memo, hundreds of
listeners accused the Corporation of bias against the Tories — pointing
out that the party received NO cash at all. And it’s strange that the
BBC only went into overdrive on the story AFTER George Osborne’s name
was linked to oligarch Oleg Deripaska. When just Labour’s Peter
Mandelson was involved it boasts it resisted making much of any
allegations. Strange, that. And reason enough for their own enquiry
into left-wing bias."