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.”
Royal Rumble 2015: Roman Reigns triumphs after The Rock returns to set-up Wrestlemania showdown with Brock Lesnar
What time is the 2015 WWE Royal Rumble on? TV details and full card
Brighton 2 Arsenal 3 player ratings: Did Tomas Rosicky's performance and goal make him man of the match at Amex Stadium?
Liverpool transfer news and rumours: Glen Johnson to stay; Fabian Delph move goes up in flames; Marc-Andre Ter Stegen for loan deal
Brighton vs Arsenal match report: Tomas Rosicky inspirational as Gunners avoid scare
- 1 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 2 UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Warriors in ancient Iraq suffered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder more than 3,000 years ago, say researchers
- 5 This crazy skiing video will leave you feeling queasy
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd