THE First Minister, Alex Salmond, is being pressed to explain a claim that newspapers boss, Rupert Murdoch, might relocate his satelitte broadcaster, BSkyB’s headquarters to Scotland were the country to become independent and slash Corporation Tax.
The claim is reported to have come in the form a tweet from broadcaster, former Sunday Times editor and former Scotsman publisher, Andrew Neil.
And it follows several recent critical comments, by politicians and in the media, of Salmond’s relationship with Murdoch, which included Murdoch’s new The Scottish Sun on Sunday running an exclusive story that the date for the upcoming referendrum on Scotland’s constitutional future will be October 18 2014 (even though the organisation of the referendum is still the subject of consultation) and the two men meeting last week.
Reports Dan Sabbagh and Severin Carrell, in The Guardian, of the tweet: “Andrew Neil, the former Sunday Times editor who now hosts the BBC’s Sunday Politics, tweeted that the Scottish First Minister gave him the impression that ‘Rupert Murdoch dangled moving BSkyB to Edinburgh post-independence’.”
It followed a TV interview given by Salmond to Neil. Adds The Guardian: “[Neil] had interviewed Salmond for the programme which aired over the weekend, but said that the politician had made his comments after the cameras had stopped rolling. Neil later qualified his comment, saying that although there had been talks, there was no deal and he suspected Murdoch was winding up [Prime Minister] David Cameron.”
Pretty much a full page – page two – in the Daily Record, by Magnus Gardham, includes illustrations of the tweets themselves.
The Scotsman, meanwhile, quotes both the Scottish Liberal Democrart leader, Willie Rennie, and Ken Macintosh, Scottish Labour’s finance spokesperson, calling on Salmond to reveal the full contents of discussions between himself and Murdoch which took place, face to face, last week.
Both Rennie and Macintosh are also quoted in the Scottish Daily Mail, in a piece on page six by the paper’s Scottish Political Reporter, Michael Blackley.