Unelected: the insidious influence of Rupert Murdoch at the heart of Government




Hacked Off can today reveal, after an analysis of Government transparency data, that employees of Murdoch’s newspapers met with Government Ministers or their advisors a staggering 206 times in the last 2 years. This includes editors and executives working for The Times, Sunday Times and the Sun newspapers.


Through a series of revealing and alarming findings, this publication sets out Hacked Off research exposing the extent of Rupert Murdoch’s access to the UK Government and Prime Minister Boris Johnson.


The detail of what was discussed at these meetings has not been published.


Sir Brian Leveson, in the first part of his Report, said that the detail of any media policy matters discussed at these meetings should be published. This recommendation has been ignored by the Government.


Instead, Mr Murdoch’s employees are able to lobby the Government for policy favours – on media policy, but also in other policy areas – in near total secrecy.


The research, set out in graphics below, shows that:


  • There were 206 meetings between Murdoch company staff & Government in last two years

  • 5 personal meetings between Rupert Murdoch & Ministers 2018-19

  • Murdoch met Boris Johnson three times in last two years, and twice since becoming Prime Minister

  • 42 meetings between Murdoch people and Johnson’s administration in his first six months

  • 3 meetings between Murdoch and the Government in Johnson’s first six months as PM

  • 72 hours after the General Election result was announced, Murdoch and Boris met



These findings are based on government transparency data which can be downloaded from Gov.UK, and is reproduced here.

News UK reach is sourced here.


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Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

Judy Stoberreply
July 21, 2020 at 4:23 pm

I think Mr Murdoch’s influence on government and on the election process is far more insidious and dangerous than that of Russia. It has been going for so many years and, undoubtedly has affected election results and that of the referendum, with people in government being complicit with his wishes. So it is really important to be shouting this from the rooftops.

Sylvie Petrareply
August 20, 2020 at 1:26 am
– In reply to: Judy Stober

In Australia also. His father started the insidious IPA (Institute of Public Affairs) when Robert Menzies started the Liberal (misnomer) Party, even their name is a lie!………IPA is all over the Libs. They are ministers in govt. Murdoch owns 70% of media….and taking over #ABC, our public tv station, with Foxtel reporters

martin kempreply
July 21, 2020 at 4:25 pm

This is all consistent with the essential corruption of the government., e.g. ministers links with private companies of proven incompetence who have benefitted from millions of pounds of contracts re. the pandemics. Most of the press turn a blind eye.

David Meddreply
July 21, 2020 at 4:26 pm

It’s solid facts like this that help me to think in a more realistic way about Murdoch’s influence. It moves things from being rumours and private bias to daily reality. I suspect something similar with the staff of Sky TV, but my suspicion depends on mere rumours and private bias which don’t make sound currency.
You’re up against people, however, who avoid facts and aim at emotional influence. You’ve got a hard job on. I’m in my eighties. I hope I live long enough to see Murdoch’s power made socially accountable.

Mary Owensreply
July 21, 2020 at 5:20 pm

Murdock is an Australian born US citizen and should be nowhere near our country or our Government. He had no rights in the UK at all . This Government is allowing foreigners access to our countries most private details and that could be seen as espionage !! Our elected MPs should be hearing all that is said behind closed doors not foreigners.

Sarah Curtisreply
July 21, 2020 at 5:40 pm

Agreed! Ever since the connections were first made and recorded in the memoirs of Woodrow Wyatt.

July 21, 2020 at 6:19 pm

It is completely wrong to allow these unaccountable media barons to have so much power and influence. These Media Empires need to be broken up and a much more diverse ownership be instigated.

alan warrenerreply
July 21, 2020 at 6:48 pm

Mr Murdoch has to marry an American citizen to enable him to own an American newspaper. It’s a pity this rule does not apply in the UK

John Phillpsreply
July 21, 2020 at 7:02 pm

I think it was the late Frank Chapple ( who at the time was general secretary of the E.T.U) standing on steps outside a Murdoch office and saying that the Times was not fit to eat your fish and chips out of. Still true today. You eat your fish and chips out of something that is healthy, honest and wholesome. No member or part of the Murdoch dynasty is fit for purpose

Allan Stewartreply
July 21, 2020 at 7:53 pm

What more can you expect from Boris Johnston? Anyone who can suppress the report on Russian interferenc just before the General Election has no scruples whatsoever neither do members of the Cabinet. When the report emerges from the security committee coupled with the incompetent mishandling of the pandemic Boris and half the Cabinet should resign or be sacked.


Suzanne Philippsreply
July 21, 2020 at 8:18 pm

Goes to show we are not a democracy. This is the propaganda channel of the 21st Century, and we can see from the last General Election campaign that the lies work.

July 21, 2020 at 10:03 pm

Eyebrow raising stats I must say. I wonder which Ministers took part? And why?

David yorkreply
July 22, 2020 at 7:10 am

Rupert Murdoch is a Fascist, always has been he always saw himself as King Murdoch, he gave up his Australian citizenship so that he could own a TV station in US where he supports the the the right wing Republican Party and these days Donald Trump and his Lies

July 22, 2020 at 7:48 am

I worry so much about our democracy. Successive regimes have been too concerned about their own survival and not enough about their responsibility to the people. Murdoch is only interested in defending his own empire. He has access to politicians because they are frightened of him, not because he has anything useful to say. Hacked Off – please keep up the work that you are doing.

Jill Willmottreply
July 22, 2020 at 10:19 am

I wonder how much pressure Murdoch brought to bear on the Government in order for Leveson2 to be dropped. Heads rolled, (but not for long) and then were rehired, not in some backroom, but high profile once again. The main offender, (NOTW) was sacrificed to appease the multitudes, yet the lessons appear not to have been learned as Murdoch and his ilk continue their nasty ways, apparently inviolable.
I wonder what Murdoch holds over the Government’s head? It’s all too cosy for words.

Alan Hudsonreply
July 22, 2020 at 10:51 am

This has been the case since I was an adolescent and Murdoch bought first The Sun and later the Times titles ( which I read as I delivered them as a paper boy). It is an outrage and completely undemocratic that this Australian /American billionaire can dictate his wishes about policies to elected politicians ( as far as prime ministers go it has been from Callaghan, through Thatcher, Major, Blair, Brown, Cameron, May and now Johnson!!). It is the most obvious and blatant kind of corruption. Fully implementing Leveson offers some hope of holding these gangsters -including Murdoch- to account. What can we do? I am happy to help.

Mike Stephensonreply
July 22, 2020 at 11:11 am

All this is going on under our noses without scrutiny while the government preaches against practices in China and Russia. We are kept in the dark while powerful forces and individuals consult behind closed doors. No, we do not live in an open democracy. Yes, the interests of the rich and powerful are a targeted priority for our Prime Minister and a coterie of Conservative MP’s. Other Conservatives must be deeply ashamed of what is going on: they must be encouraged to speak out. As for Tony Blair’s New Labour, all is being revealed about his motives and actions and we discover that our worst fears about him are justified.

Peter Sharpereply
July 23, 2020 at 12:57 pm

Yes, this seems to be shocking, but how does it compare with meetings between other press representatives and government? E.g the Guardian, Independent, BBC. Is this normal discourse, or is the Murdoch group getting special access?

Duncan Gibbreply
July 23, 2020 at 5:07 pm

Sadly, the Murdoch empire has a disproportionate influence on elections. This is just one reason why our so-called democratic system is so undemocratic. I have long proposed that every UK individual of voting age should nominate the party that he/she chooses to support and a 1% levy from the individual’s income tax should be provided to that party by HM Revenue and Customs. This should be the sole income available to political parties. Of course, the individual would be able to contact the Revenue to change their choice after 12 months or more. This would encourage individuals to take a greater interest in public affairs and make it more difficult for Murdoch to influence results.

Allan Howardreply
July 23, 2020 at 6:32 pm

I assume this didn’t just happen to start two years ago, and that there is a reason why you only checked back two years, and it would of course be interesting to ascertain how often these meetings were going on in the preceding years, and not just in respect of the Murdoch rags. And one can’t help but wonder – assuming that it’s been going on for many years – if the frequency of such meetings increased as of afer Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader. Needless to say, the smear campaign – ie the lies and falsehoods and demonisation – against him has been unprecedented, not to mention the ongoing smear campaign against the left membership, ‘transforming’ them into bullies and thugs and homophobes, not to mention anti-semites of course. Here are the headlines to just three articles that exemplify how totally corrupt the media and their ‘associates’ are (which you can type in to a search engne and read), two in relation to JC, and the other one a fake poll the Sun concocted: ‘NATIONAL DISGRACE: Jeremy Corbyn refuses to bow to Queen…’; ‘Apology offered to Corbyn amid controversy over Holocaust comments’; ‘Survey shows 93% of junior doctors would back a fully privatised health service…’ With the first two articles you have to read right to the end!

Michael Culverreply
July 24, 2020 at 5:25 pm

How do I join ?

Ron Laytonreply
July 26, 2020 at 2:14 pm

UK politicians are focused on criticism of media from Russia and China. Is this to divert criticism of Murdoch and other media that supports the Conservative right wing deregulation policies and Brexit?

John Ritchingsreply
July 30, 2020 at 2:07 pm

I have been fighting my local police force for thirty years because it refuses to investigate criminal allegations concerning the media and press. The principle allegations concern the BBC, but also involved are the Daily Mail, the Daily Telegraph, the Western Morning News and the North Devon Journal.

A complaint was sent to the Police Complaints Authority which unlawfully refused to investigate the complaint even though the complaint contained allegations concerning the Chief Constable. Attempts have subsequently been made to submit a complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, but without success. A final effort is being made to make a complaint to the Independent Office for Police Conduct, but I am not optimistic of a fair hearing for the reason set out below.

The experience of fighting the BBC and my local police force with the involvement of many politicians has led to the conclusion that the Home Office has issued instructions to every police force in England and Wales not to investigate complaints concerning the press and media organisations. In return, it appears that the Home Office has given an undertaking that complaints made against a police force for not investigating allegations of criminal activity by the press and media will be suppressed.

July 30, 2020 at 2:57 pm

An affront to democracy.

July 30, 2020 at 9:46 pm

Is ours a democracy or are we subjected to vested interests? Your report shows quite clearly which it is.

Valerie A. Leveroni Corralreply
September 7, 2020 at 6:02 am

The truth works as well as the lies. Perhaps better, because it is the essential connection between human beings and nature of all things.

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