As the world watches Brussels, Cameron finally recalls Murdoch meeting

 

David Cameron had a private meeting with Rupert Murdoch at a time when the media mogul was bidding to take 100 per cent control of Sky television, the Cabinet Office disclosed last night.

The meeting took place in July last year – 11 months before Mr Murdoch finally obtained the go-ahead to buy the 60 per cent of Sky that he did not own – an ambition he has since put on hold while his media empire is engulfed in the phone-hacking scandal.

It was included as an "addendum" to a list of the Prime Minister's meetings with outside organisations covering the second quarter of this year, which the Cabinet Office published on its website at around 6pm yesterday, when it was likely to attract minimal publicity.

There was no explanation offered as to why a meeting that took place 17 months ago has only just been made public, but it was apparently a mistake caused by information not being passed on through different parts of the civil service. Though the document does not say where the meeting took place, it is thought to have been in New York, during Mr Cameron's first prime ministerial visit to the USA.

At that time, media ownership was the responsibility of the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, who was likely to oppose Mr Murdoch's ambition to become the sole owner of Sky. Responsibility for the Sky was bid was taken out of Mr Cable's hands in December, after he was recorded boasting to undercover reporters posing as constituents that he had "declared war" on Mr Murdoch. Almost all other major media organisations opposed the Murdoch bid.

Responsibility was passed to the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, who ruled in June that the bid could go ahead under certain conditions – though it collapsed in July as the Murdoch empire became engulfed in the hacking scandal.

The documents released by the Cabinet Office yesterday give the dates of other meetings between Mr Cameron and executives of Mr Murdoch's News Corporation or its UK subsidiaries between April and June 2011.

He met James Harding, editor of The Times, twice for "general discussion" in April and June 2011, and Dominic Mohan, editor of The Sun, once, in May, again for "general discussion". The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, also met Mr Harding in April for the same stated reason.

The Prime Minister and the Home Secretary, Theresa May, were guests at the News International summer party and the Prime Minister was also at The Times CEO summit in June.

Mr Cameron also saw Murdoch MacLennan, chief executive of the Telegraph Media Group, and Tony Gallagher, editor of the Daily Telegraph in April, along with Richard Desmond and Hugh Whittow, owner and editor of the Daily Express.

Mr Clegg met Harding in April 2011 for "general discussion", his only News International meeting in the period.

The Home Office revealed last night that Mrs May met Rebekah Brooks, then the chief executive of News International, in June 2011, to discuss "women in senior positions" – just a month before Brooks resigned when it was revealed that the News of the World had hacked the mobile phone of the missing teenager, Milly Dowler.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before