Leveson attack boomerangs on Rennie

Attacks on the First Minister in today’s press by Willie Rennie have boomeranged badly on the Scottish Lib Dem leader, in light of findings by Lord Justice Leveson relating to senior Liberal Democrat politicians, including Vince Cable.

In his report, Leveson highlights inconsistencies in evidence between Vince Cable and Norman Lamb, and representatives of News International, noting: [point 4.14] “the absence of evidence that the Liberal Democrats were in fact ‘done over’ by News International’s titles as a result of Dr Cable’s decision to intervene.”

Under point 4.17, Leveson states: “The significance of the context in which the comments were made is that they consequently fall to be understood as Dr Cable’s unguarded and emotional reaction to his role in the bid. In his own words he “offloaded his feelings”. That Dr Cable’s words were of this nature is further made clear because he was not technically correct when he said that he had blocked the bid. Formally, he had only issued an intervention notice.

Commenting, SNP South of Scotland MSP Chic Brodie said:

“While Alex Salmond’s actions have been found to be ‘laudable’ by Leveson, Willie Rennie’s boomerang attack is laughable given the questions raised about senior members of the Liberal Democrats in the Leveson report.

“Unlike Vince Cable who just looks silly with his ill-advised comments, the First Minister has been totally vindicated with Lord Justice Leveson stating that Alex Salmond ‘cannot be criticised’ in regard to the BSkyB takeover issue.

“Willie Rennie should rise to the occasion and engage constructively with the First Minister’s calls for the establishment of an independent implementation group, chaired by a Court of Session Judge, to consider how best to implement Leveson’s proposals in the context of Scots law and the devolved responsibilities of this Parliament.”

Notes:

The sections of the Leveson report dealing with Vince Cable can be found here at page 1339: http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/hc1213/hc07/0780/0780_iii.pdf