Brown refuses to reveal contacts with Murdoch
Monday 04 February 2008
Gordon Brown has been accused of hypocrisy after refusing to reveal his contacts with the media magnate Rupert Murdoch, despite promising a more open approach to freedom of information.
The Prime Minister has promised to respect "the public right to know" and bring in "new rights to access public information where previously it has been withheld." Last October, he scrapped plans by Tony Blair to make Freedom of Information requests more expensive to deter more frivolous requests.
Mr Brown released details of Mr Blair's contacts with Mr Murdoch only days after becoming Prime Minister last June. But he is remaining coy about his own discussions with him.
A Freedom of Information (FOI) request from The Independent asked for "details of any meetings" between Mr Murdoch and the Prime Minister. Nicholas Howard, a Downing Street official, replied to say that "we do not hold any minutes of any meetings or other interactions" between the two men. It has emerged that the two men met at Chequers, the Prime Minister's country residence, on the weekend of 6-7 October, when Mr Brown decided not to call a November election.
Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, said: "It beggars belief that, three months on, the Prime Minister is found out to be blocking the very system of freedom of information which he praised. Gordon Brown must answer for this hypocrisy."
One cabinet minister close to Mr Brown expressed private fears that he is intent on "going the same way" as Mr Blair when it comes to his approach to Mr Murdoch.
No 10's contacts with Mr Murdoch are shrouded in secrecy. Alastair Campbell's diaries, The Blair Years, disclose that potential revelations about them deeply worried Mr Blair. Mr Campbell wrote: "TB said he didn't fear them coming at him about me, but about the relationship with Murdoch. And he didn't fancy a question about whether Murdoch lobbied him."
The Labour MP John Grogan said: "Most Labour backbenchers recognise that any prime minister is going to talk to powerful media magnates like Rupert Murdoch. What many have continued to hope, however, is that, on reflection, Gordon Brown will both be more open about these contacts than his predecessor felt able to be and also more willing to defy Mr Murdoch when it is clearly in the national interest to do so."
- 1 Oxygen-starved 'dead zones' with no marine life up to 100-miles long discovered in the Atlantic Ocean
- 2 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 4 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 5 Tory activist asked to step down after Labour candidate Rupa Huq is 'manhandled' while questioning Boris Johnson on the campaign trail
General Election 2015: Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind as he casts a line to the disaffected of Grimsby
The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
Indonesia executions: Death row British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford will refuse to wear a blindfold when she faces firing squad
Oxygen-starved 'dead zones' with no marine life up to 100-miles long discovered in the Atlantic Ocean
Russian warships accused of 'chasing away' Swedish vessel to prevent Baltic States from achieving energy independence
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...
£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...
£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...
£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...