The BBC is reporting that London Mayor Boris Johnson tried to cosy up to News International and sign commercial deals with the newspaper group even as the Metropolitan Police were investigating it over phone hacking.
The Conservative Party’s Johnson, who is faces an election on Thursday against Labour’s Ken Livingstone, had responsibility for Scotland Yard Mayor, but still tried to get Rupert Murdoch’s company to sponsor a planned cable car and a new academy in east London.
A spokeswoman for Livingstone said the revelations raised “serious questions” and called on Johnson needed “to open the books and publish all the email and other contact between him, News International and the Murdochs”.
Mr Johnson’s deputy Kit Malthouse defended the mayor’s actions saying: “Boris has behaved with complete probity throughout this issue.” Phone hacking allegations were given fresh momentum by a New York Times investigation, published in September 2010.
Later that month, while police were looking into the claims, Mr Johnson dismissed them before the London Assembly as politically motivated and “codswallop”. In the following weeks he held discussions with News International about opening an academy in the Royal Victoria docks in east London, the BBC reports.
When interviewed on local television news station, BBC London, Johnson defended his raising of private sector cash and said in the last four years he had raised Â£100m for London. He said the claims were “fucking bollocks”.
The story comes as David Cameron has been called to the House of Commons to answer an urgent question from Labour about Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
Cameron faces calls for to order an inquiry into whether Hunt broke the ministerial code in the way he dealt with News Corp’s takeover bid for BSkyB after links with his were exposed at the Leveson inquiry last week.
Cameron has said he wants to hear Hunt’s evidence to the Leveson Inquiry on press standards before deciding whether to hold an inquiry.
However, Lord Justice Leveson has said it’s not for him to judge whether the ministerial code was followed or breached.”