Yesterday the Prime Minister denied any deals had been made with the Murdoch family over News Corporation’s takeover of BSkyB. He told BBC presenter Andrew Marr that there had been no ‘grand deal’ with the Murdochs to help the BSkyB takeover go through in return for backing of the Conservatives by News International newspapers. Cameron also continued to defend Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
The Prime Minster’s appearance comes as a YouGov survey found support for his party had fallen to 29%, 11 points behind Labour on 40%, and the Conservatives' lowest rating since 2004. The poll comes days before voters go to the polls on Thursday to vote in the local elections across England, Scotland and Wales.
Fleishman-Hillard head of public affairs Nick Williams said events were out of Cameron’s control after a ‘truly dreadful’ past two months for the Government.
‘The Conservative brand is retoxifying at a faster pace with a truly dreadful past two months for the Government,' said Williams. 'The last thing the Prime Minister wants now is for one of his closest colleagues, Jeremy Hunt, to cause an early pre-Olympic reshuffle. He also recognises that events are out of his control.
‘With some commentators suggesting that the BSkyB revelations are just the tip of the iceberg, and with Rebekah Brooks just about to publish her correspondence, the levels of nervousness within the Government are increasing by the hour.’
Mark Adams, boss of The Professional Lobbying Company, believed Cameron’s attempt to draw a line under the affair had failed: ‘He can't possibly draw a line under his links with the Murdochs until the Leveson inquiry is completed, so this is bound to run.
‘Cameron's problem is that his credibility has been destroyed in recent weeks and the media "narrative" has moved against him.’
Adams said he believed Cameron’s ‘defensive’ tone should change to one that drives the agenda: ‘His whole tone now just seems defensive and self-serving. It is all very well for him to "relaunch" his vision, but he appears to be just reacting to crisis after crisis rather than driving the agenda.’
Cameron's defence comes after the Leveson Inquiry published emails between Hunt's special adviser Adam Smith and News Corporation's head of public affairs Frederic Michel. The emails discussed the media company's efforts to take over BSkyB.
The Labour Party is demanding Cameron makes a Commons statement on the row after he refused to ask his independent adviser on ministerial matters, Sir Alex Allan, to investigate. Instead, Cameron wants to wait to hear Hunt’s evidence to the Leveson Inquiry before making a decision.