Wade and Harding got ‘bollocking’ for turning down MPs' expenses; Guardian gets another hyding

Wade and Harding got ‘bollocking’ for ignoring expenses

In 2009 News International must have felt like the record company that turned down the Beatles when it passed up on the MPs’ expenses story.

Theories abound as to why that was – including widely-rumoured suggestions that executives didn’t want to upset the prospect of News Corp trying to buy BSkyB.

But former executive editor of the News of the World Neil Wallis has the story from the horserider’s mouth as it were.

Speaking at the launch of the collection of essays, “After Leveson”, he said that Rebekah Wade (as she was then) told him that she turned down the story for The Sun and James Harding independently turned it down for The Times. The stolen disc containing MPs’ unredacted expenses info was later sold to the Telegraph for £100k.

Wallis said: “She told me that she got the biggest bollocking ever from Rupert Murdoch that they didn’t try to buy it jointly.”

Lawyers spoil Cruddas party

The Sunday Times investigation into cash for access to David Cameron has been nominated for all sorts of awards – most recently the Paul Foot, for which Jonathan Calvert and Heidi Blake received £1,000.

Meanwhile former Tory treasurer Peter Cruddas is trying to spoil the party by suing the paper for libel. The Independent has already made a substantial payment for its follow-up on the story.

Just in case m’learned friends had snuck in to the Paul Foot Awards on Tuesday night, host Ian Hislop felt the need to read out this health warning from Cruddas’s lawyers:

“The Sunday Times article about Mr Cruddas is the subject of libel proceedings. Which The Sunday Times are not defending on the basis that they say it is true that he behaved illegally or breached the law on donations to political parties.” Hislop added: “I am not in any way suggesting that what he did was illegal. Disgraceful, yes…”

Davies joins pro-fox hunting campaign?

Great journalists are never off duty and Nick Davies was investigating another injustice at the Paul Foot Awards last Tuesday.

He was scouring the David Lean Room at Bafta, Piccadilly, to find Fleet Street Fox (aka Susie Boniface) and ask her why she spilt wine on his trademark black leather jacket at last year’s event.

Davies had assumed it was an accident. But, after reading on Twitter afterwards Boniface’s boasts that it may have been otherwise, he wanted answers.

Sadly his attempts to seek her out were fruitless as she was nowhere to be seen.

Guardian get another hyding

More trouble for The Guardian over Marina Hyde’s ironic ‘channelling’ of Rupert Murdoch to describe Page Three girls as “downmarket scrubbers”. A new complaint has been lodged by Karsten Edwards on behalf of the modelling agency Samantha Bond.

She described the piece as “uncalled for and thoroughly unjustified”, saying the girls are trying to make an “honest living”.

She said: “Is this the best that your well paid journalists can come up with? We work with these girls on a daily basis and they are all honest hardworking tax paying members of our society that do lots of FREE work for charity and have taken great offence to this completely unprovoked attack.

“As a model agency we have over three hundred applicants a week (15,600 per year), are they all down market scrubbers? Surely not.”

 

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