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    Britain's Former Chancellor Ken Clarke speaks during a news conference at the Council of Europe Conference at the Brighton Centre, Brighton, East Sussex, on April 19, 2012.

    Rupert Murdoch’s Hidden Hand: Ex-Tory Clarke Claims Mogul Swayed 2010 Vote

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    The former Tory minister has suggested that David Cameron reached a special deal with Rupert Murdoch, ensuring that the newspaper mogul's media empire would back the Conservatives in the 2010 general elections.

    Ken Clarke, who served as the Justice Secretary in David Cameron's Cabinet, indicated that the former British Prime Minister could have made a Faustian deal with Rupert Murdoch, who deployed his media empire to help the Tories win the elections in 2010 in exchange for expanded influence over No 10, the Guardian reports.

    "Quite how David Cameron got the Sun out of the hands of Gordon Brown I shall never know," Clarke said.

    "Rupert would never let Tony [Blair — Brown's predecessor] down because Tony had backed the Iraq war."

    "Maybe it was some sort of a deal. David would not tell me what it was. Suddenly we got the Murdoch empire on our side," he added.

    In 2010, the Sun, a British tabloid that belongs to Murdoch's News UK, famously switched its allegiance to the Conservative Party, despite supporting Labour in the previous three general elections.

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    Clarke, who was speaking to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) as part of its efforts to investigate Murdoch's plans for  21st Century Fox to acquire Sky, also noted that following the Sun's defection, the media mogul enjoyed special access to  Downing Street.

    For instance, the former Justice Secretary recalled that immediately after the Conservative's victory in 2010, he met Rebekah Brooks, the chief executive of News International, Murdoch's company which owns both the Sun and the Times.

    During that meeting Brooks "described herself as running the government now in partnership with David Cameron" and pushed Clarke towards concrete justice policy agenda, despite clearly not having any mandate.

     "I found myself having an extraordinary meeting with Rebekah who was instructing me on criminal justice policy from now on, as I think she had instructed my predecessor, so far as I could see, judging from the numbers of people we had in prison and the growth of rather exotic sentences," Clarke told the CMA.

    "She wanted me to buy prison ships because she did accept that the capacity of the prisons was getting rather strained, putting it mildly."

    "She really was solemnly telling me that we had got to have prison ships because she had got some more campaigns coming, which is one of her specialties."

    "I regarded this as a very amusing conversation and took not the slightest notice. As long as I was justice secretary, we would not have any of this," he added.

    The former Tory Minister also pointed out that David Cameron's decision to give a Cabinet position to Andy Coulson, the former editor of the News of the World, "was part of the deal [with Murdoch] I assume."

    Coulson served as Cameron's Director of Communications until 2011, when he had to resign over reports that News of the World engaged in illegal phone-hacking.

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    Clarke has been a vocal critique of Murdoch and his plans to acquire Sky News, telling the CMA that this will only expand Murdoch's grip over British politics even further, pointing to the fact that Fox News is one of the "ultimate examples of savagely political American television."

    "The idea that we allow the owner of Fox News to buy Sky News, assuming he will resist the temptation and be a changed man who will carry on running according to British broadcasting standards, entirely impartial. Believe that, you'll believe anything," he concluded.

    Tags:
    election, mass media, UK general election, Tory, Ken Clarke, David Cameron, Rupert Murdoch, United Kingdom
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