"Echoing the views of the business secretary, Lord Mandelson, Bradshaw says of News International and the Tories: 'There is no doubt there's a deal ... The Tories have basically subcontracted their media and broadcasting policy to News International. It's brazen.' He fires off a list of Tory policies – including a commitment to TV news free from impartiality rules and Cameron's promise to rein in the media regulator, Ofcom – to demonstrate the extent of the collusion between the two, publicly denied by members of the shadow cabinet.
Has a deal really been hammered out over a dining table in north Oxfordshire, where News International executives and members of the Tory high command occasionally socialise at weekends? 'It's more than one table,' Bradshaw says. 'I know people who have been at these discussions. The proof of the pudding is in the policy.'"
Does Bradshaw really have the inside track on a "deal" between the Tories and News International? If so, it's a bigger story than one aside in an interview would seem to suggest. But, whether he does or not, I can't help thinking that it's unwise for a Culture Secretary to oppose the media organisation in such vicious terms. Quite aside from the risk of turning Murdoch (further) against Labour, it hardly makes the government seem objective and levelheaded.