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New analysis suggests News Corp execs visit Downing Street more than any other company in the UK

By Dominic Ponsford

New analysis of UK government hospitality registers suggests executives from News Corp are more likely to visit Downing Street than any other company.

The Media Reform Coalition, a campaign group which objects to the the concentration of media powers in the hands of News Corp proprietor Rupert Murdoch, has compiled the data.

It has looked at the quarterly returns filed by government departments detailing meetings with outside organisations from April 2015 to September 2016. The time span covers two governments.

News Corp includes The Sun, Times and Sunday Times newspapersin the UK.

The MRC found there were ten meetings involving News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch (or other senior executives) and either the Prime Minister or the Chancellor.

The MRC says this compares with:

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  • six meetings with BBC management
  • four with Independent and Evening Standard owner Evgeny Lebedev
  • and four with Japanese telecoms company Softbank.

The MRC notes: “In September 2016 alone, News Corp CEO Robert Thompson met with Prime Minister Theresa May, Chancellor Philip Hammond and Culture Secretary Karen Bradley. Prime Minister May also met with Rupert Murdoch that month during a one-night trip to New York.”

Chair of the Media Reform Coalition Justin Schlosberg said: “Decades of rampant criminality and corruption within the Murdoch newsrooms does not appear to be of concern to the present government, as senior ministers continue to sit down with News Corp bosses at a rate that dwarfs other companies and organisations. It’s as if it’s part of their job description.”

The MRC said that it did not include meetings with journalists in its data, or hospitality that did not appear to involve a meeting or a discussion (such as tickets to sporting events).

The full data of nearly 1,500 Government meetings logged by the MRC is available here: Murdoch meetings April 2015 to Sep 2016 full dataset.

News Corp declined to comment.

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