MEDIA mogul Rupert Murdoch met with the Prime Minister six times in a 12 month period before he stepped down as the chair of the News Corp in September last year, according to government records.

Between September 2022 to September 2023, the former head of News Corp – which owns The Times and The Sun – met Government representatives 12 times, according to the campaign group Hacked Off.

These include a dinner in December 2022 and a meeting with Robert Thomson, the CEO of News Corp, Rebekah Brooks, the CEO of News UK, The Times editor Tony Gallagher, former Sunday Times editor Emma Tucker and Sun editor Victoria Newton to “discuss the PM’s priorities,” The Guardian reports.

The two men met again in May 2023 for a “politician discussion” and in June for The Times CEO summit and subsequent party.

In September last year the pair had a “social meeting”. There are no publicly available minutes of the meetings.

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Hacked Off, a group founded in the wake of the phone hacking scandal which campaigns for a “free and accountable press,” said the Government meets more frequently with newspapers than broadcasters, with meetings with the press accounting of 62% of all meetings in the period analysed.

There were 534 meetings in total between the press and Government ministers and advisers between October 2022 and September 2023, the group said, 218 of which were between representatives of Murdoch’s media empire and the Government.

The group said that Murdoch representatives met with the Government an average of 4.6 times a week while parliament was sitting in the period.

Acting star Hugh Grant, a campaigner with Hacked Off, told The Guardian: “Britain deserves politicians who will govern with integrity and in the interests of the British people, not take their lines from Murdoch and other unelected newspaper owners in secretive meetings.

“This government’s subservience to the press is pathetic and a betrayal of the public. We need to clean up our politics, starting with the undignified and undemocratic mutual back-scratching between politicians and the press which has gone on for the last nine years.”

Hacked Off’s analysis of the most recent data on ministerial meetings reveals that 72% of all meetings were with the right-of-centre press (which they define as the Daily Mail, The Sun, The Times, News UK, the Daily Express and The Telegraph) while 5% were with the left-of-centre press (defined as The Guardian and The Mirror).

Press meetings with Murdoch-owned publications accounted for 40% of the total, while the Telegraph accounted for 19%. Meetings between the Government and The Guardian accounted for just 3% of the total.

Nathan Sparkes, the chief executive of Hacked Off, said: “This is a government which has no regard for the interests of the public and is desperate to hang on to power at all costs.”

A UK Government spokesperson said all ministerial meetings were declared under the usual transparency processes.