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This one has really not garnered as much attention as it should have. It has long been thought, in the UK, that whomsoever the Sun newspaper supports for election will get elected. Rupert Murdoch, its owner, and owner of so many media outlets, holds tremendous power, but this often becomes a merely anecdotal sort of discussion held by liberals with an axe to grind. Here, good ole Ken Clarke, Conservative stalwart and ex-Justice minister speaks out.

The Guardian recently reported:

David Cameron may have done “some sort of a deal” with Rupert Murdoch to win the Sun’s support for the Conservatives in the 2010 general election, Ken Clarke, the former justice secretary, has claimed.

“Quite how David Cameron got the Sun out of the hands of Gordon Brown I shall never know,” Clarke said. “Rupert would never let Tony [Blair – Brown’s predecessor] down because Tony had backed the Iraq war. Maybe it was some sort of a deal. David would not tell me what it was. Suddenly we got the Murdoch empire on our side.”

The Sun switched its support to the Conservatives in 2010 after backing Labour in the previous three general elections.

Clarke made the comments in an interview with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) as part of its investigation into 21st Century Fox’s proposed takeover of Sky.

He said that within a few weeks of winning the general election in 2010 he had a meeting with Rebekah Brooks – then the chief executive of Murdoch’s News International, the owner of the Sun and the Times – in which she “described herself as running the government now in partnership with David Cameron” and said she wanted the government to buy prison ships.

“I found myself having an extraordinary meeting with Rebekah who was instructing me on criminal justice policy from now on, as I think she had instructed my predecessor, so far as I could see, judging from the numbers of people we had in prison and the growth of rather exotic sentences,” Clarke told the CMA.

“She wanted me to buy prison ships because she did accept that the capacity of the prisons was getting rather strained, putting it mildly. She really was solemnly telling me that we had got to have prison ships because she had got some more campaigns coming, which is one of her specialities….

Clarke said that appointing Andy Coulson, the former editor of the Murdoch-owned News of the World, as Cameron’s director of communications “was part of the deal [with Murdoch] I assume” and that it was “absurd” to think that Murdoch’s newspapers were not influential.

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Jonathan MS Pearce

A TIPPLING PHILOSOPHER Jonathan MS Pearce is a philosopher, author, columnist, and public speaker with an interest in writing about almost anything, from skepticism to science, politics, and morality,...