Rupert Murdoch ‘told Boris to get rid of BBC’ ahead of launch of TV channel


Rupert Murdoch’s company is set to launch a TV channel called talkTV in early 2022 (Pictures: Getty)

Rupert Murdoch told the Boris Johnson to ‘get rid of the BBC’ during a visit to the his country house, the Prime Minister’s sister has said.

Rachel Johnson claimed the media mogul ‘dandled’ the PM’s son Wilfred on his knee at Chequers as he made the case for scrapping the broadcaster.

The LBC radio presenter, 56, told an industry event this week the corporation was facing an ‘increasing struggle’ for survival, amid competition from streaming and subscription services.

The claims come as News UK, owned by Mr Murdoch, is set to launch a TV channel called talkTV in early 2022, which has signed Piers Morgan as its star presenter.

Ms Johnson said part of the pressure was coming from the likes of the newspaper magnate, who was making the case that the corporation was a threat to competition.

She said: ‘In my judgment the BBC will be here in 1- years.

‘But it is going to be an increasing struggle when the whole of the television story is about streaming and subscription, to have the BBC which costs £4billion to run, which gets £3billion in from the licence fee, to have that entity as a competitor.

The News Corp executive chairman and his top executives in the UK and US met the Prime Minister seven times between them in seven weeks last summer (Picture: Getty)
Boris Johnson was allegedly told to scrap the broadcasting service by the media mogul (Picture: Getty)

‘Especially when you have got people like Rupert Murdoch going to Chequers and saying to my brother, as he dandles Wilf on his knee, “Boris you’ve got to get rid of the BBC, it’s eating my lunch, they got a website, they’re a publisher, it’s not competitive”. You can see that there are pressures from all sides.’

It was reported earlier this year that the News Corp executive chairman and his top executives in the UK and US met the Prime Minister and other high-level Government politicians seven times between them in seven weeks last summer.

Mr Murdoch met with Mr Johnson, paid for lunch with Chancellor Rishi Sunak, ate a private dinner with Michael Gove and had an ‘informal lunch between friends’ with Jacob Rees-Mogg between August 8 and September 25 last year.

Even more, News UK chief executive Rebekah Brooks met with both the Prime Minister and Mr Sunak within one week in September.

Mr Murdoch’s UK empire includes The Sun, The Times and the Sunday Times as well as the Wireless Group, which operates radio stations including Virgin Radio and Talkradio, and the publisher HarperCollins.

Ms Johnson told Radiocentre’s Tuning In event the Government should create a better environment for British broadcasters to make quality content.

The BBC needs ‘an environment where the Government actually encourages British producers to tell British stories to British audiences that we can then sell globally’, she said.

A Downing Street spokesperson did not comment on the allegations but said that ministers declare all meetings with senior media executives via the quarterly transparency return.

usnewsrank.com has also contacted News UK for a comment.

In a statement to the Daily Mail, a spokesperson for the media company said: ‘The supposed quote is preposterous.

‘It is well known that our focus has been on the threat of the big digital platforms to publishers large and small.’

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