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December 20, 2018updated 30 Sep 2022 7:16am

Theresa May courted editors of pro-Brexit newspapers over summer, new data shows

By James Walker

Prime Minister Theresa May met with newspaper editors from nearly every major pro-Brexit newspaper over the summer, including both the current and former editors of the Daily Mail.

May’s meetings with top pressmen from the Sun, Telegraph, Mail and Spectator were revealed in transparency data made public yesterday. She did not however meet with the staunchly pro-Leave Express.

The Times, Guardian and Mirror editors were also not listed.

On 24 July, May had a “social meeting” with Geordie Greig a month after he was named as Paul Dacre’s replacement as Daily Mail editor. She then met Dacre for dinner in September as he stepped down.

Scroll down for table of Theresa May’s press meetings (Jan to Sept)

The Prime Minister also attended a summer reception with senior Spectator editorial staff on 4 July. The meeting was attended by Spectator editor Fraser Nelson, chairman Andrew Neil and political editor James Forsyth.

The following day she met Sun editor-in-chief Tony Gallagher.

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On one day during this year’s Conservative Party conference she had separate meetings with the i paper and Telegraph for “general political” discussions. 

The i’s editor Oliver Duff and political editor Nigel Morris were present at the paper’s meeting with the Prime Minister, while Daily Telegraph editor Chris Evans and political editor Gordon Rayner were present at the broadsheet’s party conference meeting.

On 21 June May met with Telegraph Media Group chairman Aidan Barclay for a “short discussion during the PM’s visit to the Defence National Rehabilitation Centre in Nottinghamshire”.

Press Gazette has contacted Downing Street for details of the Prime Minister’s meetings with Greig, Dacre and Gallagher.

Separate figures released earlier this year show that May registered the Queen’s Birthday Party concert on 20 April as hospitality from BBC director general Tony Hall.

During February, she met with Evening Standard editor George Osborne, the Johnston Press editorial board and BBC News director Fran Unsworth.

The Prime Minister also attended the Westminster Correspondents’ dinner, where she poked fun at Osborne.

Theresa May’s meetings with the press between January and September this year (source: gov.uk):

Person(s) met Date Description of meeting / hospitality
Paul Dacre, Associated Newspapers 10/09/2018 Dinner
The Spectator (Fraser Nelson, Andrew Neil, James Forsyth) 04/07/2018 Summer reception
Tony Gallagher, The Sun 05/07/2018 Social meeting
Geordie Greig, Daily Mail 24/07/2018 Social meeting
The I newspaper (Oliver Duff and Nigel Morris) 30/09/2018 Party Conference/General Political Discussion
The Telegraph (Chris Evans and Gordon Rayner) 30/09/2018 Party Conference/General Political Discussion
Tony Hall, BBC Director-General 20/04/2018 Queen’s Birthday Party Concert
Diane Davies, Wolverhampton Express & Star Newspaper 23/04/2018 General discussion
Aidan Barclay, Telegraph Media Group 21/06/2018 Short discussion during the PM’s visit to Defence National Rehabilitation Centre in Nottinghamshire
Global Radio, Global TV and Global Entertainment, Nick Ferrari LBC, Dame Carolyn McCall ITV 23/04/2018 Seated with at Thirty Club during dinner/speaking engagement
Johnson Press Editorial Board 19/02/2018 Roundtable during visit to discuss education policy
George Osborne, Evening Standard 20/02/2018 Social meeting at No. 10 flat.
Fran Unsworth, BBC News 22/02/2018 Introductory meeting at No. 10
Westminster Correspondents’ Dinner 28/02/2018 Dinner

Picture: Reuters/Hannah McKay

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