Moyes, by his own testimony, is the only news reporter to move from the now-defunct Screws to the Sun when the Sunday title was closed down in 2011. He had only joined the Murdoch title a year before, after eight years at the Daily Mirror. He recalled “When I joined the NoW it had a clean bill of health. It had been given the thumbs up after probes by Assistant Met Police Commissioner John Yates, the Commons' Culture Media & Sport Select Committee, and the Press Complaints Committee industry watchdog”.
And he has obediently stuck to the accepted line on what happened next: “after The Guardian's factually incorrect page one claim that the NoW had deleted murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler's voicemail messages, it was closed in disgrace”. That the paper was sacrificed at the Murdochs’ choosing to keep the Sky bid in play, or that the Guardian’s claim is not “incorrect”, but merely “not proven”, is not told.
Then he had his collar felt as part of Operation Elveden, and Moyes knew exactly who was to blame for this: “the newspaper-hating Guardian, and the hysterical rantings of hand-wringing, frenzied self-styled media commentators on social media”. But one scoop does not make it to his statement after being cleared of wrongdoing.
And that is a story about the Rt Hon Gideon George Oliver Osborne, heir to the seventeenth Baronet, and former dominatrix Natalie Rowe, which, it seems, was going to appear in the Mirror, but didn’t. Ms Rowe Tweeted yesterday “@stephenmoyes Well done on your SCOOP re #LordSewel. Any chance of the pics you have when you worked at the #Mirror in relation me/Osborne?” Ooh, interesting. And there’s more.
She followed up with “@stephenmoyes Its odd how you suppressed those pics of #Osborne & your Editor at the time was removed unceremoniously, #SewelScoop no prob!” Moyes appeared concerned: “@RealNatalieRowe Hey Nat. Tried calling you. Pls ring or DM me. Cheers”. And then came the real eyebrow-raiser: “Can I have the #Osborne pics @stephenmoyes, I now know that all that time & money you gave me to expose #Osborne was in fact to set ME UP!”.
Observing this exchange was the man otherwise known as Joe Public, who asked the obvious question “Did Andy Coulson get Natalie Rowe story by hacking Sunday Mirror? Was the softer NOTW version the reason Osborne hired him as Comms chief?” Pundits wondered at the time why Osborne recommended Coulson to Young Dave, despite the Screws having given the future Chancellor a working over.