David Cameron has defended his decision to have dinner with News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks at a time when the Government was still deciding whether to approve its parent company News Corp’s bid to acquire BSkyB.
Speaking on BBC Radio Four’s Today programme, Cameron said it was ‘ridiculous’to suggest the dinner – also attended by Brook’s husband Charlie – affected the Government’s handling of the bid.
‘Party leaders and prime ministers have lunches and dinners with editors, journalists, proprietors all of the time,’he said.
“The person in question is married to someone who is a very old friend of mine. I even occasionally meet people who work for The Guardian or The Independent or the BBC or whatever.”
Cameron also insisted that the dinner – which took place in December shortly after business secretary Vince Cable was stripped of power to rule on the bid – had ‘absolutely nothing to do with the merger proposals which were put forward”.
In March, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who was given responsibility for handling the takeover after Cable, said he was minded to wave through the proposed takeover after News Corp disclosed its intention to spin off Sky News.