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Boris: Did cash actually go from the Murdoch empire into Livingstone’s pockets? I'm shocked...shocked.

By Paul Goodman
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Boris Johnson smiling On paper, Labour ought to win next year's Mayoral election - if for no other reason than the usual mid-term protest against the Government of the day.  But the party has a candidate who is past his prime.  And the Conservatives one who is in his.

If you doubt it, read Andrew Gilligan's summary in today's Daily Telegraph of Tuesday's subversively comic proceedings in the London Assembly, with Boris expostulating and phuttering in mock shock as Andrew Boff earnestly reminds him of Livingstone's links with News International.

Here's a taster:

"Boff: Could you also, Mr Mayor, look into any contracts that may have been entered into with the Murdoch dynasty?

Boris (mock surprise): Contracts? Involving taxpayers’ money?

Boff: Yes, contracts with the Murdoch dynasty, with Freud Communications [owned by Murdoch’s son-in-law].

Boris (mock incredulity): You’re joking!… I think it would be unbelievable and monstrously hyprocritical, would it not, if the previous Mayor, having broken bread with the hirelings and the leaders of Rupert Murdoch’s group, were then to attack any other person for doing so…wouldn’t it be an unbelievably opportunistic thing to do?"

Other news broken to the stunned Mayor included no fewer than 26 Livingstone articles in News International papers since the hacking scandal broke, plus a Livingstone jolly to China.  Read the whole piece.  Boris has reversed his own position on Hackgate recently - but these scenes help to show why he's a lucky general.

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