From family roots to jobs – Alex Salmond and Rupert Murdoch’s meetings
RUPERT Murdoch’s “warm” relationship with Alex Salmond was revealed in further detail as the media mogul published the dates of his meetings with the First Minister.
The Scottish Government and News Corporation files show the pair had four face-to-face meetings since Mr Salmond came to power in 2007, alongside a series of phone calls, discussing everything from Mr Murdoch’s Scottish roots to the SNP’s policy of independence.
According to the Scottish Government the pair met in October 2007, a few months after Mr Salmond won office in Edinburgh, when the First Minister travelled to the News International office in New York. They both attended the opening of a printing plant later that year.
In previously released correspondence between the pair, Mr Salmond is recorded telling Mr Murdoch that he found his views “both insightful and stimulating”.
They next met in April 2008, again in New York, for a breakfast meeting where, according to the documents published yesterday, the pair discussed Mr Murdoch’s Scottish roots. The details of the meeting have not been published before.
The Scottish Government said yesterday the details would now be added to a publicly available record of Mr Salmond’s meetings with media figures.
There then followed two further meetings, in June last year and February this year. In both cases, the Scottish Government has insisted that the discussions were “focused on boosting jobs and economic activity”.
However, Mr Murdoch’s record declares the meeting last June was to discuss “Mr Salmond’s interest in Scottish independence”.
The February meeting, which took place at Mr Salmond’s Bute House residence, also included News International’s public affairs director, Frederic Michel, and Mr Salmond’s special adviser Geoff Aberdein. In addition, Mr Murdoch’s papers detailed two further meetings with Mr Salmond, both over the last 12 months, one to discuss his company’s investments, and one to “discuss Mr Salmond’s interest in Scottish independence”.
However, a spokesman for the First Minister last night said the records were incorrect and that the meetings had not taken place. Mr Murdoch also disclosed that he and Mr Salmond had had as many as five phone conversations since 2007.
Mr Murdoch’s records show that the pair had only spoken once before that, in 2000.
Labour last night hit out at Mr Salmond’s failure to disclose his 2008 meeting with Mr Murdoch.
On Sunday, Mr Salmond said he didn’t have meetings in “secret” with him, “like Labour used to do”.
Paul Martin MSP, said: “Alex Salmond has tried to make great virtue of his transparency, but it has backfired in spectacular style now it has emerged he had a secret meeting with Rupert Murdoch in New York.”
Mr Salmond maintained yesterday that the meetings focused on boosting Scottish business.
In evidence to the Leveson Inquiry earlier this week, Mr Murdoch laid out his growing relationship with Mr Salmond.
“I would describe it (their relationship) as warm. I mean, I don’t know Mr Salmond well, but we’ve had three meetings here and he’s an amusing guy and I enjoy his company.
“I don’t know much about the SNP. I have met Mr Salmond a few times and find him an attractive person.
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Saturday 18 May 2013
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Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
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