Scandal reveals ‘murky practices’, says Nick Clegg

BRITAIN’S deputy prime minister says the tabloid phone hacking scandal has created a once-in-a-generation chance to clean up murky relations among media, police and politicians.

Nick Clegg also defended Prime Minister David Cameron at a news conference this evening over questions about his private discussions with executives of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

“I think that we now have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to really clean up the murky practices and dodgy relationships which have taken root at the very heart of the British establishment between the press, politicians and the police,” Mr Clegg said.

“That is what we now need to get on and do. That’s what the independent judge-led inquiry will allow us to do. We must act on any recommendations from that inquiry quickly, if necessary through legislation as well.”

Mr Clegg said the hacking scandal, and allegations that police officers were paid by the press for information, had “shaken” faith in the police and brought public opinion of politicians to an even lower level.

The deputy prime minister’s comments came as Mr Cameron was under renewed pressure over his contacts with senior executives at News Corporation, after aides confirmed he had discussed the company’s bid to take over BSkyB with them.

Downing Street said Mr Cameron could not rule out that BSkyB was mentioned during the PM’s meetings with News Corp figures, including chairman Rupert Murdoch and former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, but insisted that none of his conversations were “inappropriate”.

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