Sky News cuts short interview after Rupert Murdoch criticised live on air

'There is Rupert Murdoch trying to take over the whole of Sky, here she is giving Sky this terrifically important interview'

Siobhan Fenton
Social Affairs Correspondent
Sunday 08 January 2017 17:27
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Polly Toynbee questions Theresa May choosing Sky over BBC for interview

An interview on Sky News has been cut short after a commentator challenged the broadcaster's connections to Rupert Murdoch live on air.

The awkward exchange occurred following an interview conducted by host Sophy Ridge with Prime Minister Theresa May.

Polly Toynbee, an author and Guardian columnist, appeared as part of a panel discussing Ms May's interview with Ms Ridge, shortly after it was aired. She said it was telling that Ms May, who is known for her reticence to grant major media appearances, had given the interview to Sky rather than the BBC.

Ms Toynbee said: "The very fact that she has appeared on Sky rather at the last moment, not on BBC. Now as far as I know she has no particular row with the BBC, no trouble has happened. This unspoken fact may be the most important – there is Rupert Murdoch trying to take over the whole of Sky, here she is giving Sky this terrifically important interview, although she didn’t actually say anything; this seems to be possibly more significant than anything that she’s said.”

At which point, the Sky presented interjected: “That is another debate that will go on for some time” before moving the discussion on to talk about other issues.

Ms Toynbee's comments follow news announced last month that Mr Murdoch had launched a £11.2bn bid to take full control of the broadcaster. The media mogul sought to add the corporation to his communications empire which includes The Sun and The Times newspapers.

Mr Murdoch holds 39 per cent of Sky and has previously attempted to take full control; however, his ambitions were thwarted in 2011 after it emerged that journalists connected to some of his media outlets had been engaged in phone hacking, resulting in public and political backlash.

Regulatory approval would be required for the deal to go ahead.

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