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George Osborne challenged over BBC cuts 'Murdoch meeting'

Published 31/07/2015

George Osborne has been asked to make public any dealings with media mogul Rupert Murdoch since the general election
George Osborne has been asked to make public any dealings with media mogul Rupert Murdoch since the general election

George Osborne has been challenged to reveal if he met or contacted Rupert Murdoch during a period which saw BBC funding cuts.

A deal was announced earlier this month to transfer the £650 million-a-year bill for providing free television licences for the over 75s from the Exchequer to the BBC.

The Independent reported that sources have claimed a meeting took place between the Chancellor and News Corp boss Mr Murdoch before the plan was revealed to BBC director general Lord Hall.

Labour has written to Mr Osborne to ask him to fast-track the release of his meetings since May's general election.

In a letter, shadow culture secretary Chris Bryant said: "I am writing to ask for a list (with dates) of all meetings, correspondence or phone calls you have had with Rupert Murdoch since the election, along with notes of what was discussed in those conversations.

"I will also be sending a Freedom of Information Act request to the Treasury for the same information.

"I would be grateful if you would release this information in good faith and in the public interest, rather than being forced to do so by the Act.

"I would also welcome you fast-tracking the publication of your transparency data regarding meetings with media organisations.

"Due to the public interest in this matter, I will be releasing this letter to the press."

Details of ministers' meetings with external organisations and people are routinely published by the Government.

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