At long last, the Murdoch mafiosi have bowed to the inevitable and realised that the deeply unpleasant Tony Gallagher is not suited to the job of editing the Sun, something that Zelo Street had concluded years ago. The Super Soaraway Currant Bun is supposed to have a sense of fun, even when going after all those Politicians and Slebs, but Gallagher was stuck in his Daily Mail-style rut of spite. And now he has gone.
As the Guardian has reported, Gallagher is to become deputy to the equally unpleasant John Witherow at the Times, a man with a past that has sailed rather too close to illegal information gathering on a number of occasions. It was under Witherow’s tenure at the Sunday Times that the paper used the services of blagger John Ford, who has since turned from poacher to gamekeeper to reveal the extent of his activity.
So who is to replace Gallagher at the Sun? Ah well. “Victoria Newton has been appointed as editor of the Sun … Newton was most recently editor of the Sun on Sunday … Newton, a former deputy editor of the News of the World”. The Guardian also notes that “News UK continues to face heavy financial losses at the division that owns the Sun, with income falling amid the collapse in print circulations and the continued cost of historical phone-hacking claims, which are eating up about 15% of revenue”. Historical phone hacking.
Which brings us back to Ms Newton. While former Screws and Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan - who has his own problem with claims of historical phone hacking on his watch becoming ever more persistent - has enthused “Congrats to Victoria Newton on being promoted to Editor-in-Chief of [The Sun]. She’s a brilliant scoop-breaking, campaigning & mischievous journalist. The best kind”, others are not so enamoured.
One of those less enamoured of Ms Newton is campaigning group Hacked Off, which has responded “Mischievous you say..?” before quoting a report from Byline Investigates, which has told “Victoria Newton - the current Sun on Sunday Editor - is the most high-profile executive alleged to have involvement with voicemail interception”. Hmmm.
Under the headline “Twelve Sun Editors Suspected of Phone Hacking and Blagging, Court Told”, that report goes on to assert “SERVING SUN ON SUNDAY EDITOR VICTORIA NEWTON IMPLICATED”. And how is she implicated? “Forty-seven claimants, represented in court by barrister David Sherborne, are suing The Sun and the now defunct News of The World, for breach of privacy, while two are suing The Sun alone”. Do go on.
“The judge agreed to order that [News Group Newspapers] disclose the expense forms of Victoria Newton … for a three-year period unless NGN could persuade him, after another application, that it was too hard”. Why expense forms? What the prosecution is looking for is “entries for top-up mobile phone vouchers”. Why? “It’s alleged that some Sun reporters topped-up ‘burner’ phones, so that they could hack phones without being traced”.
Look who else is implicated
For instance, “Guy Patrick and Dan Wootton - who had worked at the News of the World at the time - allegedly claimed for 20 top-up vouchers”. Wootton is still at the Sun. Now Victoria Newton is there too. And, as they say, the case continues.
Scoop-breaking and mischief just took on a whole new meaning. More on this one later.
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