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Labour discussed whether to hold a public inquiry into phone-hacking... and chose not to

By Matthew Barrett
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Ben Bradshaw, who was the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport for the latter part of the Brown Government, has admitted that the last Labour government discussed in Cabinet whether to hold a public inquiry into phone-hacking, but decided against doing so.

Bradshaw was on BBC Two's Daily Politics this afternoon (his appearance can be viewed on BBC iPlayer at around 12 minutes in). When asked why Labour didn't discuss the issue while in government, Bradshaw said:

"That was a discussion in the cabinet in the last year of the Labour government about whether to have a public inquiry, as Alan Johnson made clear in the Commons yesterday. That was, in effect blocked by the police and Gordon Brown had the added political difficulty that he was seen as a weakened Prime Minister. If we had gone down that route there would have been a hail storm not just from the Murdoch press but from all the other hostile media that we were just trying to find a diversion or an excuse"

So, Gordon Brown - with the knowledge of his Cabinet, which of course included Ed Miliband and Ed Balls - decided not to have an inquiry in case the News International newspapers attacked him. An interestingly honest admission from Ben Bradshaw.