Boris Johnson and Rupert Murdoch have had at least two private meetings in the last six months, it was claimed today. They dined privately at the media mogul’s home in Mayfair this week, with Damian Lewis, star of the spy drama Homeland.
The meeting shows Mr Murdoch is keeping up his life-long interest in British politics, and suggests that he sees Mr Johnson as a potential future Conservative Prime Minister.
But it has been criticised because London’s Mayor also has a role supervising the Metropolitan Police, and there are allegations of police officers accepting illegal payments from journalists employed by Mr Murdoch.
Len Duvall, leader of the Labour group at the London Assembly, said:"This isn't the first time Boris has met Rupert Murdoch and tried to keep it secret. It is ludicrous for him to say he was meeting him in a private capacity. He has a duty to uphold the highest standards. Does he really think a private dinner with Rupert Murdoch is a normal meeting?"
But it has been criticised because London's Mayor also has a role supervising the Metropolitan Police, and there are allegations of police officers accepting illegal payments from journalists employed by Mr Murdoch.
A spokesman for campaign group Hacked Off, which represents some high-profile victims of phone hacking, said: "It beggars belief that anyone could describe a dinner between the most powerful politician in London and the head of News Corporation as a 'private arrangement'.
"It is inappropriate for him to be meeting Mr Murdoch in private while the Met are carrying out an investigation into Murdoch companies."