By Ray Fleming

YESTERDAY produced its anticipated quota of Murdoch surprises, not least that father and son had accepted the resignation of Rebekah Brooks as boss of all the Murdoch newspapers on the grounds that she has become a “focal point of the debate”. Had she only just discovered this? What took her so long? Of greater interest perhaps was the interview which Rupert Murdoch gave to the Wall Street Journal (one of his properties) when he returned to New York from London.

Secure in his own environment he said News Corporation had handled the phone-hacking crisis “extremely well in every possible way” although he conceded that there had been some “minor mistakes”. Among these, presumably, were the axeing of the News of the World, the abandonment of the 7.8 billion pounds bid for full control of BSkyB and the plunge of 15 per cent in the company's shares.

Mr Murdoch also said that he is setting up an independent committee to look into all accusations of improper conduct at his newspapers; the committee is to be headed by an unnamed “distinguished non-employee”.

Perhaps Murdoch has got it in mind to ask Fifa's Sepp Blatter whether he could spare either Placido Domingo or Henry Kissinger from the roles recently given them to help clean up improper conduct at Fifa. Anything is possible in this game.


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