Sky News in a huff because Tories won’t give broadcaster access to PM Theresa May
As May delivered her party’s manifesto on Thursday morning, a spokesperson for Sky News saw fit to issue a complaint about the level of control the prime minister imposed over each press event.
“Since early in the election campaign, Sky News has not been getting live interviews on election issues with Conservative ministers,” a channel’s official said in a statement.
“Also, we weren’t initially invited to follow the leader’s tour. We understand this to be because members of the prime minister’s team are unhappy with aspects of our political coverage. Sky News stands by its journalism and is committed to fair, impartial, and accurate reporting of all the political parties.”
The comments follow a reported spat between the broadcaster and the Conservative leadership, after Sky’s editor-at-large Adam Boulton speculated about May’s health on the day the snap election was called.
In April, another Sky News exclusive did not sit well with May’s team, when the channel’s senior political correspondent Beth Rigby ran a story about Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson being pushed out of the way during the election campaign so to avoid any of the blonde bombshell’s infamous gaffes.
A source mentioned by BuzzFeed UK even “claimed Sky News did not receive advance briefing of the Conservatives' manifesto launch on Thursday, despite some friendly newspapers being given previews of some policies.”
In a series of tweets published by Anushka Asthana that morning, the Guardian’s political editor also revealed that Boulton had complained about May’s advisers “blocking Sky News from interviewing Cabinet ministers.”
Here is Sky news statement on being blocked out apparently because of their political coverage pic.twitter.com/0VfMEBdlb7— Anushka Asthana (@GuardianAnushka) May 18, 2017
Sky's @adamboultonSKY says Theresa May advisers are blocking Sky News from interviews with Cabinet ministers.— Anushka Asthana (@GuardianAnushka) May 18, 2017
The complaint is particularly surprising, as one of May’s chiefs-of-staff, Fiona Hill, was once employed by Sky News.
Indeed, Sky News has a long history of revolving doors between its payroll and successive British governments.
After Hill, it was the turn of Sky News consumer affairs correspondent Poppy Trowbridge to leave and join Chancellor Philip Hammond’s team as a special adviser.
ToryHQ have blocked Sky News from interviewing Cabinet Ministers in protest at its fair election coverage. Like this pic.twitter.com/vnveMwCtEs— Eoin (@LabourEoin) May 18, 2017
Before her, the channel’s deputy political editor Joey Jones was moved from Sky Central, in the West London neighborhood of Brentford to Westminster, as the official spokesman for the then-newly-minted PM May.
And even Boulton has his own close links with the British Establishment, having married Tony Blair’s one-time assistant Anji Hunter.
Their 2006 wedding was attended not just by Blair, but also former Labour ministers Tessa Jowell, David Blunkett and Peter Hain, and former BP boss Lord Browne.