Ken Clarke and Vince Cable at Leveson as-it-happened

By

09:59 - It's another day of live blogging Leveson. Obviously, the will to live is fairly minimal now. Today we get big beast Ken Clarke and Vince Cable, who famously said he was "at war" with Murdoch. That was the point David Cameron thought 'hmm, perhaps you're not an impartial judge of the BSkyB bid'. And then he thought, Jeremy Hunt, who had made his views very clear on the issue, would be a better one. So fair enough on the first decision, not so much on the second. We'll be starting any minute.

10:05 - Cable just walked in. Big news in the mean time. Police say "officers...detained a 44-year-old man in London this morning...on suspicion of committing perjury at the High Court in Glasgow". That man is Andy Coulson and this relates to his evidence during the trial of Tommy Sheridan. It's massive news and potentially serious jail time. Things just get worse for Coulson.

10:09 - Cable is discussing his experience of quasi-judicial functions before government. he describes it, rather wonderfully, as: “If you can’t ride two horses at once, you shouldn’t be in a circus.”

10:13 - I'll stick with Cable for now and bring you more Coulson news as it comes in. Jay and Cable are going through how the BSkyB bid decision process worked. Cable is subdued but confident. "An independent mind doesn't mean a blank mind. Most people have views. The requirement on me and people in this position is to set those to one side, to consider representations, the facts and decide on that and only on that." That was quite the gift Cable just offered Hunt.

10:16 - However Cable does say you should be careful who you meet, however. I'm hearing Andy Coulson is being taken to Glasgow where he will be questioned at Govan police station. It appears seven officers from Strathclyde police travelled to London to make the arrest. The Met wasn't involved directly, but acted as a liaison.

10:19 - Plurality was a new concept introduced in 2003. It was distinct from conventional definitions of monopoly. Cable has his usual grumpy demeanour, but he sounds reliable and assured - measured. Cable says he was first aware of News Corp's bid for the remaining BSkyB shares on June 15th 2010, when it was officially announced.

10:22 - Cable says he was notified by James Murdoch in November 2010 of the intention to proceed but he took view about the urgency of the process. Jay asks why he took views from other Lib Dems. Cable said his background was economic affairs, not media policy. He wanted background briefing, particularly from Dom Foster, the Lib Dem's media spokesperson for several years. Leveson interjects: Not just the history, but the rational? Cable: "That's right." he then asked Lord Oakeshott to assemble a mixture of people, economists, businessmen, all Lib Dem sympathisers, to give advice on economic and business related policy. It was never raised at this group. Jay asks if he ever spoke to Simon Hughes or Chris Huhne about these issues. "No I didn't."

10:26 - Was he told anything by the business advisory group which he wasn't told by his officials? No. He said they did discuss public interest interventions. He wanted the public interest test to be widened.

10:28 - Here is an important quote from Coulson relating to the action this morning. At the 2010 trial of Tommy Sheridan (ironically for perjury) he asked Coulson: "Did the News of the World pay corrupt police officers?" Coulson replied: "Not to my knowledge."

10:30 - Cable says he refused meetings with some antis to the bid, including 38Degrees. He also turned down James Murdoch, as we already knew. Elsewhere in the media, on an increasingly insane morning, Richard Wallace, editor of the Daily Mirror, and Tina Weaver, editor of the Sunday title since 2001, are reportedly both being let go as the left-leaning tabloid turns into a seven-day operation. The People's editor Lloyd Embley is being tipped to take over. Both the departing editors have previously been accused of condoning phone-hacking by the way, although this is not to do with that.

10:34 - Cable is discussing his concerns abut the bid. It seemed to him that the argument about 39% representing control was "very weak". It reduced the number of outlets under different owners and once there was 100% ownership the new owners could replace management and influence editors, affecting plurality.

10:37 - BSkyB was an "independent news generator" which was important in itself and provided news to radio and Channel 5 so any editorial change would have wide ramifications.

10:42 - Couple of big bits of news by the way, which I may as well tell you while we're going. Charles Taylor has just been sentenced to 50 years for war crimes and doctors have voted to strike over pensions changes. As you were.

10:44 - Cable insists his views were "actually quite nuanced". We're now on Cable's conversation with James Murdoch on 15 June 2010. Several of his officials were listening in, as is the way (with Cable anyway). The note of the conversation is being looked at by Jay, who says nothing there shows him having a view one way or another. "The conversation was well thought through in advance what I could and couldn't say, there was no off-the-cuff opinion," he says. The next night he was invited to a News International drinks reception, but he thought it "inappropriate" to attend. He declined all meetings from Frederic Michel. Was he told Michel wanted to get in touch? Jay asks. The name Michel didn't register on his radar but he knew there was a request for a meeting. He chose against it. "I thought there were compelling reasons not to meet him. First of all there was a legal risk because the subject he wanted to talk about I couldn't talk about. It could be perceived by other parties to be partial, then I would also need to see them and there were an awful lot of them. I didn't actually think it was necessary. They had the chance to put their views in by writing and they did on many occasions." Cable coming out of this very well. Contrasts horribly with Hunt's behaviour.

10:43 - "As a politician I believe the Murdoch's political influence exercised through newspapers become disproportionate," Cable says.

10:52 - Jay says Michel and J.Murdoch met Lord Oakeshott in the Lords. Once it came to his attention, Cable advised the business advisor group mentioned earlier had to be disbanded. Oakeshott had said he was speaking in personal capacity, but Cable and his officials thought his views could be interpreted as Cables, so they discontinued the formal arrangement. Jay: Did any coalition partners try to talk to you about the bid? Cable: "No, none at all." Jay: Would you have thought it appropriate to discuss it with Jeremy Hunt? Cable: No, I wasn't formulating government policy, I was formulating a judgement which rested on me as an individual.

10:58 - Jay asks about Cable's two special advisers. Jay asks if one of them, Giles Wilkes, was a lead adviser on the bid. Cable says the spads had no responsible to speak for him on the issue. Therefore there was no lead adviser. Jay: Did Wilks have interaction with Michel. Cable says towards the end of the period Michel had introduced himself by email and had sought to set up an interview, which Wilks declined, knowing my views on the matter.

11:01 - Jay lists how Adam Smith described his job - 'eyes and ears and buffer' (he doesn't mention it's Smith's description). Cable says that's accurate (but not on the bid). Cable says he always encourages them to challenge him to stress test policy. In engagements with third parties they do speak for Cable.

11:05 - Cable is really tearing into Michel's emails to his bosses. "Let me make a reference to 'people close to me'. I have no idea who they are. No-one was authorised to comment on my behalf," he says.

11:09 - Jay reads a Peter Peston blog saying Cable will send the bid . It wasn't true to Cable's knowledge. "I have no idea who his sources are," Cable says. Just having a look at the witness statement. Cable admits the use of the word "war" with Murdoch was "excessive".

11:11 - A new email, from earlier chronologically. It is to News International (NI) saying Cable can't meet because of the bid. Leveson asks if he might have been interested if BSkyB wasn't an issue. Cable says yes, that would have been fine if there was no takeover issue to discuss. "He was a major investor; there were other areas of mutual interest such as broadband policy."

11:13 - Cable comments o a claim by Michel that his views were aligned with Hunt: "I didn’t know what Mr Hunt’s view was, so I don’t know where that came from." More from his witness testimony - sorry to skip ahead, but it's there so let's have a butchers. Cable says there was a "sense of being under siege from a well organised operation" during the BSkyB bid. "Colleagues expressed some alarm about whether this whole affair was going to lead to retribution" against Lib Dems. He used the word war to suggest he was not willing to be scared off.

11:19 - This is weird in the 'helping-Jeremy-Hunt-o-meter'. While Cable's professional conduct does not reflect well on Hunt's much more relaxed, chummy approach, his destruction of Michel is useful to Hunt, as it confirmed the sense he was exaggerating everything he wrote to his bosses. Leveson: "Do you recognise any of this?" Cable says some of it is broadly correct. We're now on October 2010. Michel says the Cable's department is "stuffed" with tuition fees and all that. Does that represent something Cable recognises? "Well it does actually yes." Grand bit of understatement there.

11:23 - Cable says the idea he spokes to Lord Oakeshott ten times a day “wildly inaccurate”. And with that we take a short pause. Back in five.

11:36 - OK, we're back.

11:37 - Leveson asks if this type of lobbying - people emailing and talking about who influences him and trying not to get Lib Dem MPs to get him on side - is acceptable. Cable suggests it's par for the course. "Michel was a lobbyist at work. That is commercial lobbying, indeed," Cable adds. Michel refers to a former Sky employee. Cable says he doesn't know who that is and didn't know they had one. Alex Salmond is referred to. Cable says he didn't speak to him. An email seems to refer to the idea that an adviser to Cable would get information from NI and then meet with them. Cable says he's "baffled" by it, doesn't know who it was. It may be "officials and political people are being mixed up here, I don't know" - it could have been a lawyer. "I'm totally mystified by who this is," Cable adds.

11:43 - "Whoever is advising Michel is not being very helpful because this is the day I issued the intervention order," Cable says at one point, contrasting badly with a note saying NI had "put good case". Now we're on more emails with Michel wanting a meeting and Wilks saying there couldn't be one. "Mr Wilks is behaving entirely rightly and properly as I would have expected him to do," Cable comments.

11:48 - Leveson clarifies that 'main adviser' in the Michel emails clearly means Wilks, as he is sent documents', we're done with the emails and back onto the witness statement. Bit on that Telegraph sting coming up.

11:51 - Jay reads the Cable quotes on "declared war on Rupert Murdoch". This is where Cable told undercover journalists at a constituency surgery he was in government to stop things like the BSkyB takeover. Cable says the quote is accurate but "a disembodied voice out of context" from a longer quote. He continues. "In order to explain the rather emotional way I dealt with this, there was a near riot taking place outside my constituency office, people were trying to force their way in. In order to prevent the disorder getting out of control I invited in some of the protesters in, people were very angry [about capitalism, the Middle East tuition fees etc]. I was struggling to keep my temper. At the end of that interview when I'd finally seen them out I was in an extremely tense frame of mind. " The undercover journalists were the next people he saw. "I'm usually very calm in difficult situations and I offloaded onto them" his views on "BSkyB and my colleagues in government in language I wouldn't usually use".

11:56 - "I was concerned. there was a systematic attempt to politicise the process, to pretend it was about Liberal Democrat politics." he also heard the Murdoch press would attack the Lib Dems if he ruled against them. "I frankly stored up my anger at what had taken place but in that very special moment" he let go. Cable says he believes the threat came in conversations with Michel. Was the name expressly mentioned? "It was indeed."

11:59 - Jay keeps asking what he meant by parts of the quote – ie: "his whole empire is under attack". Cable warns these are quotes in a very specific context. "Deconstructing individual sentences is difficult, I wasn't giving a considered policy statement at the time." Jay: "Are you able to identify the individual who gave the veiled threat'?" Cable says no, he was told in confidence.

12:02 - "Was it your intention to halt the takeover?" Jay asks. "Cable: "No, it was my intention to have the matter properly reviewed because it satisfied the test for intervention. I acted entirely properly. By acting appropriately and impartially I had put it in the hands of the regulator. Ofcom concluded there were issues of substance." Leveson interrupts saying the sentence in question from the sting operation doesn't quite translate to what Cable is saying. "Maybe the sentence written in evidence doesn't convey what I wanted it to convey," Cable replies.

12:06 - It's a ridiculous news day. It really is kicking off everywhere. I've just heard Sean Connery has been warned by police he was a repeated victim phone-hacking victim.

12:09 - Cable defends handing quasi-judicial roles to ministers. “It’s right that those decisions be made by people who have legitimacy through the democratic process,” he says. Councillors make these decisions every day. Choices about planning should not be removed from elected officials in public interest cases. Leveson says there's a great deal in that, but wants to test it. He says in terms of the judiciary, he might have a view on wind farms or whatever. That his view as a member of the public. When he comes into court he focuses on "tram lines which are constrained". His personal view is neither here nor there. But if a councillor lived on an estate that might be affect by a planning decision he shouldn't be deciding it surely. "Having a personal interest is different than having an opinion," Cable says. Leveson: "What concerns me about this type of decision it can be mixed up where the press is involved, because everybody will have not just a dispassionate view as a member of the public, where it become extremely difficult to desperate out that from the purely judicial." The decision could have been made by a party which had been supported or opposed vigorously by News Corp. "I wonder if we're not asking rather too much of politicians who have been through the fire of political campaigning."

12:16 - Cable says politicians do struggle with it. He broke down temporarily in that interview but the rest of the time he was fine. he goes back to Leveson's use of the phrase 'tramlines' - you have to stick to the process. Politicians have been slowly removed from competition policy decisions, but there is a small residue.

12:23 - Cable says the important thing is that elected representatives can be held to account. he could have been called to the Commons to explain himself, or to the prime minister. Leveson says he is "trying to protect those in office from subterranean decision-making". It's the allegation he is concerned with, he insists when Cable suggests he is being pejorative.

12:26 - Cable says the major area he confronted the dilemmas Leveson describes is in economic - the Bank of England and interest rates. He wanted that independence. "What we are now discovering is there are very big decisions which probably are political rather than technical which politicians are no longer able to make," he says. Leveson accuses him jokingly of moving the analogy from one he is comfortable with to one he isn't. Jay is back.

12:28 - He suggests there was a perception of bias because of his remarks. Cable says he understands that, insists he wouldn't have been biased, and suggests he sympathises with why the prime minister took his responsibility away. "Given what you just said about perception of bias there was no alternative in this case," Cable says. Leveson asks why the Telegraph came after him. Cable says the paper was hostile to the coalition - they wanted a Tory government. They felt the Lib Dems were compromising Tory values and all Lib Dem ministers were subject to an intervention in their conversations with constituents.

12:32 - We look at who Cable has met or talked to. The list is not huge. Jay asks if he thinks this puts him at a disadvantage with the political people who have a bigger network - I imagine he's remembering Michael Gove's testimony yesterday. Cable says there are two archetypes of media regulation. One is state regulation - like expanding Ofcom, which is too harsh on freedom. The other is a wholly permissive system, which presents problem of its own, and that's why the inquiry is taking place. We're looking for something in the middle. He cautiously says his party's view is commendable. You have statutory architecture, like the medical profession - a legal framework with disciplinary sanctions, but within it the industry is self-regulating.

12:37 - Leveson says he has suggested similar idea and met various responses. Jay and Leveson are done. But a lawyer - not sure who - I imagine News Corp's man, can't be the Met, wants to ask questions. It is News Corp. He quotes Cable saying he couldn't have a meeting on the bid. Cable says he could but it would have been inappropriate to discuss the bid.

12:39 - The lawyer agrees it would have been wrong to talk about what he was going to do, but listening to arguments and saying that he had heard and understood them - that was different. Cable says sure, but then he would have had to do it with all the other parties. He could understand written documentation, but face-to-face meetings were unnecessary. The lawyers suggests that allows speculation. "Well there would have been a lot of speculation if I had met one party and not others, Cable says.

12:41 - The lawyer says News Corp didn't want the bid politicised. Cable says he had no idea what News Corp thought. Cable says he had no reason to disbelieve Murdoch when he said he wanted it done on merit. His comments come from the Michel conversations. The lawyers grabs on that. he takes one of the emails where Michel records a talk with Oakeshott saying Cable was under political pressure from Labour and the Lib Dems. That's where News Corp were being told the issue was being politicised. Cable says it might not have been Oakeshott. Cable said what's relevant is that that is not how he was understanding he case. The lawyer says there's no indication news Corp wanted the bid politicised. Cable says he can't comment.

12:44 - The lawyer asks again who told him about Michel's threat. Cable won't reveal the name but alludes to roughly when he was told - between the intervention notice and the telegraph sting. The threat came at roughly the same time. Without knowing who was supposed to be threatened or when, Michel can't respond. "Correct," Cable says.

12:46 - The lawyer asks him to confirm he was never threatened himself. Cable does. The lawyer then gives up. The inquiry breaks for lunch. We'll be back at 14:00 for Ken Clarke, who might be a tad more colourful - and critical of Murdoch - than we'd anticipated.

14:04 - Hi, welcome back. The inquiry is a little late getting started. They should be coming in soon.

14:08 - OK, we're on. Leveson is saying the module is number four, on the future. he asks for core participant status applications. Leveson sounds tired and irritable.

14:09 - Clarke looks... well, you know what he looks like. A wonderful mess. His trousers are halfway up his chest, his collar sticking out on one side, his tie is a serious crime against fashion and he seems like he could say any manner of things. His hair, however, is quite smart. "I have had a much re-shuffled career," he says, when discussing his past positions. He is currently Lord Chancellor and justice secretary.

14:18 - “There certainly are cases…where policy decisions are taken primarily because people are fearful of the media reaction,” Ken says. They have had fights over family courts - "there's a section of the media that I'm sure wants to open up family courts so they can get information about the children of celebrities". Currently anyone under-18 is guaranteed anonymity and no-one can be named who might give it away.

14:22 - “They can certainly drive a weak government like a flock of sheep before them sometimes,” Clarke continues. Some areas of policy is overwhelmingly influenced by PR people on both sides. "The power of the press is far greater than that of parliament, when I entered parliament it's power was far greater than that of the press," he says.

14:24 - When Clarke entered politics, everyone knew the prime minister's wife was having an affair with a backbencher. No-one reported it. "It remained know in the political bubble but carried to the grave. Nowadays I don't know how often the PM would stay in office after the first story, but he wouldn't have made it through two or three days. Those things weren't considered legitimate for the public to know. We're now in celebrity culture and celebrity culture has as one of its branches the government."

14:26 - We can't reverse this process, Clarke argues. But we need a proper system of decision-making going forward against these extraordinary pressures. Leveson says the important words are "tolerance and good judgement". Clarke says the big issue is 'what is the public interest'. What is there a need to know, what is there no right to conceal? When does private life become public concern? "Some lines must be drawn but we've got very near to no lines being drawn at all."

14:29 - Harriet Harman, shadow media secretary, has commented on Cable's testimony and it's surprisingly poisonous. “This was a bid of huge importance for the media landscape, worth £8 billion, and Vince Cable was supposed to be dealing with it with the utmost professionalism and impartiality. Instead, he showed a degree of indiscretion and incompetence such that the decision had to be taken from him. On a bid of huge importance for which his department had responsibility, he mishandled it.”

14:30 - Leveson makes an interesting point. He saws his whole life he has been in law making judgements on things that happened in the past. Now he has to formulate something for the future." The conclusions will be criticised from one side and the other, wherever you put the line,” Clarke says. Leveson replies: "That whatever I suggest will be criticised is a feature of life I have been aware of since I was given the task".

14:33 - They're discussing section 32 of the Data Protection Act. It was "torturously" drafted to make sure the press weren't "overly troubled", Clarke suggests.

14:40 - "I'm not very keen on public interest defences at all," Clarke says, because the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) have to conclude there's a public interest in prosecuting you in the first place. That assumes, of course, that they can do their job sensibly.

14:42 - When he was made chancellor, he moved his bank account because journalists were trying to bribe the staff in his village bank branch. He says this to suggest none of this is anything new.

14:46 - As a politician you make firm links with members of the media. You have to, and you do anyway because you work together. In general politics you try to persuade, try to argue a point, try to argue what you're doing. Everyone in the [parliamentary] lobby knows the difference between on and off the record. Off the record sees you giving "a much harder steer". Now the government pre-briefs everything out. "To my slightly old fogey horror this has happened to Budgets".

14:49 - Jay brings up the draft defamation bill. There was an in formal consultation in summer 2010 with media representatives. He says he already had a "fairly settled view" before he got to office. "I arrived believing that we needed a defamation bill. There was now enough doubt in the law." The Singh case obviously encouraged him, as did libel tourism. "So we're going to reform it. I then set out legitimate freedom of speech on one hand and protection of responsible journalism. The actual detail involved consulting with a lot of people. I involved the media just the same way I would have involved any other groups if you were legislating" in their work area. The consultation also involved potential claimants - via defamation lawyers. Clarke said much canvassing was done through Lord Lester's bill, which was a very good starting point.

14:54 - Now we're on the Bribery Act. Clarke says he was lobbied to put a public interest defence in there by Mail editor Paul Dacre and the Society of Editors. He says this was after it was an Act, so to whack that in would have involved amending it before it was even implemented. He repeats he is not an enthusiast for public interest defence. He does admit though, that bribes are acceptable in extreme cases. "But the protection to the journalist .... a prosecutor won't prosecute unless there's a public interest in prosecuting". He cites, as an example, the Telegraph MPs' expenses scandal, where they paid for the data.

14:59 - Clarke says he meets with Dacre "not that often". They get on well but "don't agree on a great deal". The previous government invited him to chair a committee on the 30 year rule for document disclosure. They met a bit more often in one period to discuss that. They didn't accept every recommendation but he was left "broadly content". He goes on: "There are some journalists I won't have lunch with, there are some I will. I don't think any of those concerns... media matters or matters which touch on the business. He had a couple of dinners with Lebedev, the man who now owns the Standard and the Independent.

15:12 - Clarke says New Labour basically lost the plot. They fed stories to journalists and then if they ever wrote anything negative they never got a story again. One journalist was even barred from the Treasury. Leveson says Alistair Campbell said New Labour carried some relationships into office which should have stopped at No 10.

15:15 - Clarke is being very interesting. He says Campbell, as a tabloid man, changed the culture of press relations in Downing Street. That has stayed the same. He also says they are obsessed with newspapers. "They don't have the same effect broadcast have on the public" - nor do week-by-week stories affect the way people vote really. Twenty years ago there wasn't the same sense of 24/7 campaigning. The "present incestuous relationship between the two" is based on the myth that daily headlines matter.

15:18 - Terror of the tabloids doesn't bring you success. "You make stupid decisions in government and they turn on you in the end," he says. The remedy is in the hands of the politicians, but we must have an "aggressive" media. And on that we take a break. Back in five.

15:34 - And we're back. Is the term 'transactional' applicable to party leaders, editors and proprietors? Clarke says too much sweat was split in getting the Sun onboard - "desperate lengths were gone to get it's support on board"> He doubts it ever changed an election. Murdoch "changes sides when it's obvious the horse they are riding on is about to collapse". Even a five-year old knew the Tories would lose in 1997, and that Labour would lose in 2010. "I cannot understand the excitement that has been demonstrated throughout the years with the Sun newspaper. Gordon was obsessed with whether the Sun newspaper would endorse him, and he was meant to be running the country."

15:38 - Clarke discusses the phenomenon whereby tabloid campaigns kept demanding tougher sentences for more crimes. he says departments kept giving in. There was less crime and more people in prison. He came into office trying to change this. Each campaign triggered a new criminal justice bill, the magistrates responded too to escape criticism. "I disapprove of that in part, I'm not sure i represents a genuine public feeling." Newspaper campaigns are usually based on a very partial account of a shocking high-profile case.

15:41 - "If the tone of the newspapers was different over the last 15 years we'd probably have 20,000 fewer people in prison," Clarke says. The papers take a view from the public but only at the level of first reaction - would they hold the opinion if you told them the competing arguments. "Newspapers present a frenzied version of what they believe to be the opinion of their readers. The moment you doubt it they hold an unscientific opinion poll. Also, the proportion of the population who read newspapers is not very high."

15:44 - Clare is asked why he wrote a piece for the Daily Mail on so-called secret justice yesterday. He says the Mail had run a harsh campaign on the issue, so he wanted to give their readers another view. "I don't agree with the Daily Mail on very many things but it is not as predictable" as most of the right-wing press. It is hard to predict. The last time he agreed with them was on Iraq. They are mavericks.

15:50 - They're now on Clarke's ideas about media regulation, along the lines we're used to - how do you make people do it, if you don't will it have any power. Clarke says the easy bit is financial. The hard bit is retractions and the like.

15:55 - History shows that without teeth, in the end you're wasting your time if some section of the printed media refuse to join, Clarke points out - this is a reference to the Daily Express stepping out the PCC.

15:58 - Leveson centres on litigation with Clarke, given his professional role. He wants swift and effective redress at little cost but warns it might involve public money. The current status, Clarke says, is that the lawyer expects lots of money when he wins; making up for what he loses when he takes on the couple that lose. Changing the system means they will be much more careful. The regulator could be a regulator, a mediator of disputes, adjudicating and giving an award. He doesn't think large sums of damages are appropriate, unless they can demonstrate a major financial loss. It's the prominent apology which matters, the agreement you won't do it again. "As far as public funding is concerned I owe it to my Treasury colleagues to say that the government has no money".

16:04 - Clarke makes a good point. Journalists are used to dealing with politicians, who are used to being treated badly. But the public are much more sensitive. If the burden is set too low, the regulator would be flooded with complaints. There is also a freezing effect. the risk is of not writing anything interesting because there is such a tide of complaints. Leveson says that means that what is put in a newspaper might be thought about a little bit more. At the moment Clarke says, correctly, that it stops newspapers when someone is litigious and has money. Robert Maxwell had 200 left. He told Clarke: "For me this is petty cash, but you would be betting the ranch, you know." Great story.

16:11 - It should be noted that ken Clarke can use his own stomach as a desk to rest his arms on. The way he does it is so relaxed and casual he clearly sits like this all the time. Seems quite handy actually.

16:17 - Jay has one additional point on the fusion of news and comment - does he share the concern? Clarke says he does but who has the authority to make them go back "I do not know". News coverage is now "from the word go" expressing a campaign. he says this is exceedingly irritating if there's no-one on your side. "There has been no such thing as Conservative pro-European newspaper in this country for a quarter of a century."

16:20 - And that's it. I'll be back tomorrow for the big event - Jeremy Hunt. See you then, popcorn at the ready.

Get involved Get Involved