Read our new manifesto

Downing Street accused of cosying up to Murdoch by granting near unfettered access

Downing Street has been accused of becoming too closely entwined with News Corp after it emerged that the prime minister, chancellor and culture secretary had met senior executives from Rupert Murdoch-owned titles no less than 20 times over an 18-month period.

Downing Street accused of cosying up to Murdoch by granting near unfettered access

This includes tet-a-tet’s with Theresa May and Phillip Hammond as well as their predecessors David Cameron and George Osborne.

Seven of these visits were with Rupert Murdoch himself and a further eight with Robert Thomson, the most senior executive Murdoch’s newspaper empire.

The access figures were obtained by the Media Reform Coalition and 38 Degrees and cover the period from April 2015 to September 2016 – a tumultuous period in British political history during which Murdoch’s titles backed the Conservatives in the 2015 general election and backed the vote to leave the EU.

Maggie Chao of 38 Degrees, commented: "These findings show that Murdoch continues to enjoy astounding access to senior politicians. But more importantly, they throw into question the government’s – and [culture secretary] Karen Bradley’s – judgment when it comes to the UK’s most powerful media baron.

“Now it’s up to Karen Bradley to prove she’s on the public’s side – not Murdoch’s – by ensuring the Sky deal is subject to the highest levels of scrutiny."

By comparison there were seven equivalent visits by BBC executives and four with Evgeny Lebedev in the 12 months to September 2016.

Join us, it's free.

Become a member to get access to:

  • Exclusive Content
  • Daily and specialised newsletters
  • Research and analysis