LONDON — Former Prime Minister David Cameron tried to get the editor of the right-leaning newspaper The Daily Mail sacked during the European Union referendum, according to the BBC.
The Daily Mail had pushed its readers to vote to leave the European Union while Cameron and his Chancellor George Osborne were campaigning to remain.
A source told the BBC’s Newsnight programme that Lord Rothermere, the inheritor of a newspaper and media empire which includes The Daily Mail, that apparently Cameron pushed for Dacre to be sacked during a private meeting in his No 10 Downing Street flat in Westminster.
Newsnight reported that Lord Rothemere was told by Cameron to persuade Dacre to “cut him some slack.”
However, Dacre allegedly told Cameron that he would not change his or the paper’s editorial stance because he was a 25-year strong Eurosceptic and he believed his readers were too. Newsnight then claimed a Westminster source told Dacre that Cameron was pushing Lord Rothmere to sack him.
Newsnight claimed through a source that this made Dacre “incandescent” and led to the paper ramping up its pro-Brexit coverage.
A spokesman for Cameron told the BBC that he “did not believe he could determine who edits the Daily Mail.”
A spokesman for Lord Rothermere refused to “confirm or deny Newsnight’s story” and added: “Over the years, Lord Rothermere has been leant on by more than one Prime Minister to remove Associated Newspapers’ editors but, as he told Lord Justice Leveson on oath, he does not interfere with the editorial policies of his papers.”
Former prime minister Cameron called for the EU referendum after promising voters that if they voted him and his Conservative party into power in the 2015 general election.
He explicitly said he was against leaving the EU, and instead would favour a renegotiation of Britain’s current membership within the bloc.
Cameron tried to push for Britain to essentially opt out of the Freedom of Movement Act while still retaining the conditions of its current trading setup within the EU. However, after EU officials said “no,” in no uncertain terms, his proposed deal was deemed as a failure.
When Brits voted by a slim majority for Brexit on June 23, he stepped down almost immediately afterwards and Theresa May became the leader of the Conservative party and the new leader of the country in July.
*UPDATE — this story has been updated with a statement from Lord Rothmere’s spokesperson.
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