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Rishi Sunak Meets Murdochs More than NHS Figures in Latest Lobbying Revelations

Sunak had eight meetings with senior media executives over the Summer – compared to just one meeting with health professionals.

Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak with journalists aboard a plane on his way to the G20 meeting last November. Photo: Leon Neal/Pool Photo via AP

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Rishi Sunak met media representatives more than any other sector of the UK economy between July and September, analysis by Byline Times shows. 

The Prime Minister met senior executives from Rupert Murdoch’s media empire alone four times in the space of three months, compared to just once for NHS representatives. 

Sunak met Daily Mail editors twice in that time, while meeting housing sector figures once. Several of the meetings were listed as “social”, meaning they are unlikely to have been minuted. That includes meetings with the departing News Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch, and separately, his son Lachlan who is taking over at the helm. 

Every single one of the PM’s eight media meetings in that time is with right-leaning media outlets. 

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Journalism professor and Byline Times contributor Brian Cathcart said: “These depressing figures reveal just how close the connection is between the right-wing billionaire press and our multi-millionaire prime minister.

“Forget democracy and forget parliament: this is where the real power in this country resides, and worse still, what we see is just the tip of the iceberg. Contacts of this kind are maintained at every level of Government and are so intensive it’s impossible to say where press influence ends and Government begins.”

He added that editors and proprietors who have “no democratic mandate” and whose own industry is in a “disgraceful and chaotic state” are listened to more by the prime minister than anyone else in the country.

And Tom Hardy from Extinction Rebellion’s ‘Tell the Truth’ media campaign said the findings were “brazen”, adding Sunak’s meeting priorities reflected “how out of touch the Government is with a sentient electorate.”

Hardy argues that fossil fuel interests and “the billionaire press” appear to be “pulling the strings”: “Sunak will tell us that he is still committed to net zero or the health service but we all know what happened to Pinocchio.”

Read the full meeting declarations for the three months over the Summer here.

Sunak’s Media Meetings – July-September 2023

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Josiah Mortimer also writes the On the Ground column, exclusive to the print edition of Byline Times.

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