The Prime Minister recently announced that the Government would publish details of all meetings that it has had with media executives. The list of Meetings between the Prime Minister and “Proprietors, editors and senior media executives” and of “Guests to Chequers” lists are now available on the 10 Downing Street website.
It is noteworthy that the Prime Minister has met representatives of News International 26 times since coming to power and but that the Deputy Prime Minister in the same period has had significantly fewer such meetings. The BBC has published a compendium of all media meetings with party leaders here.
In addition yesterday the “Guardian” and “Telegraph” have reported numerous further ministerial meetings with News international, with the Chancellor George Osborne and the Defence Secretary Liam Fox having had 17 meetings each and Michael Gove 6 meetings with Rupert Murdoch. The “Telegraph” calculates that government ministers met News Corps executives on average every three days of the current government. It appears that, Cabinet ministers have had private meetings with Murdoch executives more than 60 times since the Government took office and, if social events are included, the figure is at least 107.
The “Independent” reports that
“James Murdoch and former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks were given confidential defence briefings on Afghanistan and Britain’s strategic defence review by the Defence Secretary, Liam Fox. the Murdochs were given secret defence briefings“.
Finally, the “Guardian” reports that the Prime Minister’s chief of staff , Ed Llewellyn, and Andy Coulson had a meeting with former “News of the World” Deputy Editor Neil Wallis and Sir Paul Stephenson at a Scotland Yard dinner on 17 June 2010.
Full details of the meetings between News International and the ministers in the last Government have not been made available but this is an area which will be covered by the first part of the Leveson Inquiry.