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
News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
i100

Other places that have held independence referendums
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
news

Sport
footballThe latest scores and Twitter updates from tonight’s games, featuring Bayern Munich vs Man City and Chelsea vs Schalke
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur
film

It scooped up an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards when it was first remade in 1959

News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Arts and Entertainment
Maxine Peake plays Hamlet at Manchester's Royal Exchange
theatreReview: Maxine Peake brings emotional ferocity to Shakespeare's starring part
Extras
10 best table lamps
indybest
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

IT Project Manager (technical, applications, infrastructure)

£55000 - £60000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: IT Proj...

English Teacher (Bristol and South Gloucestershire)

Negotiable: Randstad Education Bristol: English teachers for day to day cover,...

Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Sheffield: Year 6 Teacher RequiredThis teaching...

SharePoint Administrator - Bishop's Stortford / Stansted

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: SharePoint Administrator - Bishop's ...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week