Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks has decided as a gesture of goodwill to pay for the entire costs of the inquiry into Culture, Practice and Ethics of the press led by Lord Leveson out of her £10.8 million severance package from News International.
The inquiry, which has so far cost the taxpayer up to £6m, was set up to examine the relationships between the media, politicians and the police which led to some people being paid enormous sums of money to either divulge sensitive information about private individuals, corporations or victims of crime, or to keep their mouths shut.
Emphasising that allegations of inappropriate payments from the press to the police and government officials were being investigated elsewhere in Operations Motorman and Elveden, the spokesman and paymaster for Mrs Brooks, Rupert Murdoch, said; ‘This should in no way be seen as an inappropriate payment to a government appointed body for any favourable treatment, but it is only proper that the costs of advertising the merits of a free and fair press through a judge-led government inquiry which ultimately leads back to uncontrolled self-regulation should be met squarely with a generous donation from me, ..er, the people who have to implement it and, um, benefit from it through positive stories in the Sun.’
No. 10 Downing Street made it clear that they hadn’t used Leveson to put any pressure on Mrs Brooks, merely hinting in no uncertain terms what might be seen to be ‘appropriate’, while stressing Christmas canapés as usual, 23rd, round at Dave’s.
Mrs Brooks is also considering where else she might donate the remainder of the cash which, observers pointed out, might be tricky to spend in prison. ‘It will go to charities, victim support groups, journalists who’ve lost their jobs through no fault of their own, that sort of thing, the things I stand for and believe in,’ she said. ‘And when it’s all over I might get another horse. Oh for God’s sake, I’ll bloody well BUY another horse.’