Former Prime Minister David Cameron tried to get the editor of the Daily Mail sacked for supporting Brexit, the BBC has claimed.
Lord Rothermere, the newspaper’s proprietor, told Editor Paul Dacre that Mr. Cameron urged him to tone down the paper’s anti-European Union stance before suggesting he sack him, a source told BBC Newsnight.
The show claims the then Prime Minister personally invited Mr. Dacre to a private meeting in Downing Street to urge him to “cut him some slack” in the run up to the Brexit referendum.
Mr. Dacre responded that he would not temper his newspaper’s stance as he himself was a Eurosceptic and he believed his readers were too.
A month later, the Daily Mail Editor was told by a Westminster source that Mr. Cameron had urged Lord Rothermere to sack him. Mr. Dacre was reportedly “incandescent” and “stiffened” his resolve to campaign for Brexit.
David Cameron staked his political future on Britain voting to remain in the European Union, and resigned upon the victory of Brexit.
A spokesman for Lord Rothermere refused to confirm or deny the claim, but he did say: “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.”
A spokesman for Mr. Cameron said: “It is wrong to suggest that David Cameron believed he could determine who edits the Daily Mail.
“It is a matter of public record that he made the case that it was wrong for newspapers to argue that we give up our membership of the EU.
“He made this argument privately to the editor of the Daily Mail, Paul Dacre, and its proprietor, Lord Rothermere.”
Mr. Dacre declined to comment on whether the former Prime Minister tried to get him sacked.