Has Culture secretary John Wittingdale exposed himself to blackmail by members of the mainstream media over a relationship with a prostitute?
This Writer notes that the BBC does not appear to be involved in any coercion of the minister (although this is an ongoing story, according to Byline).
Considering the precariousness of its current position, this is either a principled position, a foolhardy mistake, or more evidence that the Corporation is a Tory poodle. You decide.
John Whittingdale, now Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport was involved in a long relationship between at least November 2013 and January 2015 with Olivia King, a well known escort who specializes in domination and sado-masochistic practices. It is unknown whether the relationship continues.
During this period, Whittingdale was accompanied by her at locations including the MTV Awards in Amsterdam in November 2013, the SportBall, attended by Kate Middleton, also in December 2013 and a New Years Eve party at the House of Commons in 2014/15.
During this period, his movements and private conversations with her were well known by the tabloid press.
As Culture Secretary, Whittingdale’s brief includes press regulation, the BBC Charter and OfCom, including the implementation of press regulation based on recommendations from the Leveson report.
Whittingdale’s relationship has been an open secret in Westminster and Fleet Street circles, and major tabloid and broadsheet papers including the Mail on Sunday and The Independent have undertaken extensive investigations and written stories, only to have the stories abandoned at the last minute. The Editor of the Independent, Amol Rajan decided in Octotber that he had made the decision to not run the story on ‘editorial grounds’.
However, the previous day, Rajan had met with Whittingdale and Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre at the Society of Editors Conference in October 2015. When he delivered the keynote address, he stated that he was minded not to implement a major recommendation of the Leveson inquiry and passed by Parliament as part of the Courts and Crimes Act.
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