Queen’s solicitors knew the News of the World was lying to Parliament but did nothing about it. That was a suggested headline by a British Labour MP overnight as he questioned a solicitor who as well as acting for Her Majesty had done some work for News International.

The Labour MP Paul Farrelly wanted to know from Julian Pike, a partner with Farrer and Co, the law firm that represents the Queen, what he had done when he realised previous evidence given to a House of Commons select committee was not true.

“To be honest, I haven’t done very much,” was Mr Pike’s reply as reported by the Daily Telegraph.

Mr Farrelly said: “I’m just imagining a headline — Queen’s solicitors knew the News of the World was lying to Parliament but did nothing about it. Do you think that reflects well or badly?”

Mr Pike said: “We have obligations to the client we are acting for. That is a headline that is obviously not ideal.”

But he added that it would be “very unfair of me to tell you that someone deliberately misled” the committee.

That “someone” is News director James Murdoch who gave evidence that he was not aware that other journalists on the News of the World  had been implicated in wrongdoing when he authorised a payment to Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association, for more than £400,000 to settle a claim that he had been hacked. Mr Pike, the solicitor who recommended the payout, told the committee that the editor of the paper, Colin Myler, had met James Murdoch on May 27 2008 to discuss the case, taking with him a briefing note stating that more News of the World journalists had been involved in hacking.

Perhaps the continuing doubts about James’ handling of this phone hacking affair is the real reason behind what the New York Times and the International Herald Tribune have reported this week as a family feud between father Rupert and son James!

Don’t worry about the debt, let’s have a tax cut. Old habits die hard in the American Republican Party. While preaching concern about the size of the federal budget deficit they continue to advocate tax cuts for the rich. The Texas Governor Rock Perry is about to announce his plan for a flat rate tax and businessman Herman Cain, another front runner in the contest for the Republican presidential nomination, is already off and running with his 9-9-9 proposal for a 9% rate for businesses, individuals and sales tax.

The benefits for the richest Americans are massive with a graph illustrating who would get what if Herman Cain’s ideas were actually accepted being too deep to fit in the Crikey email. Have a look at it on The Stump blog site.

Peter Fray

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