Ian Hislop urges investigation into Michael Gove and Rupert Murdoch

Written by David Singleton on 11 October 2016 in Diary

The Private Eye editor told MPs that Gove might have been influenced by 'the generosity of Mr Murdoch' while he was in office.

Parliament should investigate the relationship between Michael Gove and Rupert Murdoch, the editor of Private Eye has argued.

Ian Hislop told MPs that there were questions to be answered around Gove’s return to The Times as a columnist and book reviewer.

“I think it would be possible to look at Mr Gove’s relationship with Mr Murdoch,” he told the Commons public administration and constitutional affairs committee.

Gove is known to have maintained close relations with Murdoch during his time in government. During the Leveson inquiry he hailed the media mogul as “one of the most impressive and significant figures of the last 50 years”.

He has now returned to The Times — where he previously worked before being justice secretary and education secretary— to write a regular column for the Murdoch-owned paper. The appointment was announced in September and immediately triggered speculation at News UK that it was a staging post to the editor’s chair.

Hislop’s suggestion was initially rebuffed by committee chair Bernard Jenkin, who asked him: “Are you seriously suggesting someone whose profession is journalism should not be allowed to carry on their profession if they are no longer a minister?”

But Hislop hit back: “I sat through the entire proceedings of Leveson in which one of the main points was the closeness of the relationship between senior members of the Conservative party and Mr Murdoch. And Mr Gove has had a number of meetings with him when he was in various of his departments.

“So I think there is a question there about when you are in office… imagining a future when you might need the generosity of say Mr Murdoch to sustain your career and whether that would influence that decisions you’ve made."

Still apparently unconvinced, Jenkin asked: “How readily do you think he was anticipating being where he is now at this particular moment?

Hislop replied: “Judging by the look on his face on the morning of Brexit he wasn’t.

“But we’re saying it might have been in the back of his mind.”



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