Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Labour reveals Murdoch connections

Ed Miliband attended a string of News International parties and held talks with former chief Rebekah Brooks, records show

Senior Labour figures socialised with members of the Murdoch family and News International executives at a string of exclusive social events, records released by the party have shown.

Two days before it emerged the mobile phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler was hacked by a private investigator working for the News of the World, shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander went to a party in the Cotswolds hosted by Rupert Murdoch's daughter Elisabeth and her husband Matthew Freud .

It was also attended by former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, who quit two weeks ago following the hacking furore. Mr Alexander also met the party's hosts in London at a "social" event on December 20, the document reveals.

Tessa Jowell, shadow Olympics minister, attended the Freud party although she declared the date as July 3. The bash, held at Burford Priory, reportedly started on Saturday evening and continued until noon the next day.

Ms Jowell met the couple at social events in London and Oxfordshire on December 1, Christmas Eve and Boxing Day.

Shadow Northern Ireland secretary Shaun Woodward met Mrs Brooks on Boxing Day. It emerged earlier this month that Prime Minister David Cameron, who succeeded Mr Woodward as MP for Witney after he quit the Tories and defected to Labour, also had a social engagement with Mrs Brooks on December 26.

Mr Woodward also met up with Mrs Brooks in France on June 11 this year and visited Les Hinton, who resigned from News Corporation following the hacking revelations, on October 9 in the United States of America.

Labour leader Ed Miliband attended a string of News International parties and held talks with Mrs Brooks. Sun editor Dominic Mohan was also at the London meeting but held separate discussions with Mr Miliband in February as well as at Labour's party conference last autumn.

Mr Miliband attended the News International annual summer reception in 2010 and this year as well as the organisation's party at the Labour conference.

Conservative Party co-chairman Sayeeda Warsi said: "The figures released quietly by Labour today show that members of the shadow cabinet courted News International staff extensively. Pressure has been on Labour for days now to release this information, and in the end the details had to be dragged out of them."

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