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Scandal has erupted over an offer to dine with the UK Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer, and influence policy, in return for money. Conservative Party co-treasurer Peter Cruddas was filmed promising undercover journalists access to the top reaches of government, in return for donations of up to £250,000. The reporters, from the Sunday Times, had posed as overseas wealth fund managers.
As the MPs' questioning of the Murdochs came to an end this afternoon (19 July 2011), there was a clear reminder that some politicians' have not overcome their fear of Rupert Murdoch. Louise Mensch (formerly Louise Bagshawe) threw the Murdochs a lifeline by suggesting that hacking was common at British tabloid newspapers. She admittedly threw in some soundbites about Rupert Murdoch resigning, before telling him she admired his "immense courage" for carrying on with the hearing after being hit by some sort of custard pie.
There are whispers in Whitehall that a decision on the future of the Serious Fraud Office is imminent. The Home Office is considering rolling the Serious Fraud Office’s lawyers into the Crown Prosecution Service, while its investigators would be hived off into a new FBI-esque crime agency. And all this against the advice of most experts in the field.