James Murdoch's controversial potential membership of Brooks's is to be discussed by the committee of the London gentlemen's club.
James Murdoch’s struggle to cope with the phone-hacking scandal at News International is nothing compared with his difficulties in joining Brooks’s gentlemen’s club.
Mandrake hears that the proposal for the son and heir of Rupert Murdoch to become a member of the establishment in St James’s is to be discussed at the next meeting of the club’s committee.
“There is a growing feeling that he should not be allowed to join,” says one member of the club, whose past members include William IV, George IV and William Wilberforce.
Earlier this month, I reported that Nicholas Ferguson –—the deputy chairman of BSkyB, of which James is the chairman — had proposed him for membership of Brooks’s two years ago. The proposal was backed, with characteristic enthusiasm, by Roland Rudd, the public relations man, who is a close associate of Lord Mandelson, Oleg Deripaska and Nat Rothschild.
Murdoch was understood to have reached the final stages of the application process before the hacking scandal broke.
The Duke of Abercorn remarked of Murdoch’s potential membership of the club, which was traditionally free for hereditary peers: “It’s not April 1, is it?”
Viscount Ashbrook, another member, told me: “I certainly wouldn’t sign in support of James Murdoch as I don’t know him.”
Diplomatically, perhaps, Graham Snell, the club secretary, was unavailable for comment on Thursday.
THE TELEGRAPH, by Tim Walker. Edited by Richard Eden