London 2012: Boris Johnson courts controversy by inviting Rupert Murdoch as his 'personal guest' to Olympic swimming final

 

Boris Johnson is to court controversy by taking the media mogul Rupert Murdoch as his personal guest to the Olympics on Friday.

The Mayor of London will accompany the News International chairman to the Olympic pool to watch Rebecca Adlington defend her 800m freestyle title.

Mr Murdoch, who has been shunned by political leaders since the phone-hacking scandal erupted, will be at the pool-side along with his wife Wendi Deng and other business leaders.

They will visit the games with tickets provided by the London and Partners organisation, which raises money from sponsorship and the private sector to promote the capital.

The visit has been arranged as part of Mr Johnson’s drive to use the Games to promote London to leading figures from the business and media worlds and to encourage investment in the capital.

Sources close to the Mayor said he was “very comfortable” about being photographed with the tycoon.

He is understood to regard Mr Murdoch as an important supporter of British sports through initiatives such as the sponsorship of Team Sky cyclists including Bradley Wiggins.

Mr Johnson's spokesman said: “The Mayor has always said he would use the Games to shamelessly promote London as the leading business hub in Europe.

“With that aim in mind, he’s meeting and will continue to meet a range of business and media executives at or on the margins of Olympic events to further London's drive for investment that will spur jobs and growth.”

In 2010 Mr Johnson described allegations about phone-hacking as “codswallop cooked up by the Labour party” and a “song and dance about nothing”. He later explained that he had “misunderstood the severity of the allegations”.

In an interview March, he said: “I don't regard him as quite the satanic influence that some do and if you look at the newspaper industry he did a great deal to set it free, and that is a point you don't often hear these days.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project