Government’s Ramped Up 2020 Press Schmoozing Revealed

New transparency releases show the government significantly increased its meetings with top press hacks from September to November of 2020, after noticeably limited contact during previous months due to Covid. In this two month period, Boris had private meetings with a swathe of top news figures, including:

  • Rebekah Brooks, News UK
  • Lord Rothermere, Daily Mail
  • Tim Davie, BBC
  • Tony Gallagher, Times
  • Fraser Nelson, Spectator
  • Geordie Greig, Daily Mail
  • Chris Evans, Telegraph
  • Victoria Newton, Sun
  • Allister Heath, Sunday Telegraph
  • Fran Unsworth, BBC
  • Emma Tucker, Sunday Times
  • John Witherow and Tony Gallagher, The Times
  • Gary Jones and Mick Booker, Daily Express
  • George Parker and Roula Khalaf, FT

Surprisingly no meetings with ITV figures. Unsurprisingly no meetings with Mirror or Guardian executives…

Perhaps the fact most likely to intrigue will be the releases from Lee Cain and Dominic Cummings, who both reveal they met with Laura Kuenssberg on 15th October.

Laura’s meeting took place amid Boris announcing further Covid restrictions and the introduction of tiers in England. Two days after the meeting, the row with Manchester erupted, during which Kuenssberg received briefings on the 15th from Cummings and Cain that Manchester had been told it was going into tier three. This was at the time the PM was resisting a full national lockdown in favour of regional tiers. The day of the meeting, the 13th, Laura received a message from a “senior government source” slamming Starmer for refusing to back action on Covid. It’s known by this point Cummings was a fully paid-up member of the pro-lockdown doves in No. 10. Two weeks later, the chatty rat briefed the press about the second lockdown, bouncing the PM into an early announcement…

mdi-account-multiple-outline Dominic Cummings Laura Kuenssberg
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