LONDON — Sky News has launched a highly unusual attack on the Conservative party, claiming it is being denied access to Theresa May and ministers on the election campaign trail.
Editor at large Adam Boulton claimed on-air on Thursday that the news channel was being refused interviews with cabinet members, following Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt completing a number of appearances on the BBC.
Sky News later confirmed this in a statement, which a spokeswoman forwarded to Business Insider. Here it is in full:
“Since early in the election campaign, Sky News has not been getting live interviews on election issues with Conservative ministers. 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.”
A source at Sky News said it had attempted to resolve the matter behind the scenes, as is normal when such disputes arise, but viewers had begun to notice that it was not getting the same level of access as other broadcasters. The source added that May’s team has taken issue with two stories in particular:
- On the day May called the general election, there was a short period of wild speculation about what the prime minister might announce. Boulton speculated on TV that the announcement may relate to her health, which did not go down well with her team. Downing Street chief-of-staff Fiona Hill texted Sky News to say: “You might want to tell Bunter (Boulton’s nickname) that he should watch what he is saying about my boss’s health, utterly unfounded and untrue.” Boulton read this out on air.
- May’s team also took issue with Beth Rigby’s exclusive report last month that Boris Johnson will be kept away from the spotlight during the Tory election campaign. Downing Street disputed the report, but a Sky Source said it was “triple sourced” from three cabinet ministers.
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