UAE-backed deal could be disastrous for UK government and freedom of press, opponents say.
MPs have attacked the proposed UAE-backed takeover of the Telegraph newspapers, warning that it is impossible to “separate sheikh and state” and calling for further investigations to be launched before the deal “turns into a disaster for the government”.
Julia Lopez, a media minister, was grilled in the Commons after the submission of an urgent question raising concerns over the Barclay family’s complex deal to transfer control of the Telegraph and the Spectator to RedBird IMI.
RedBird IMI derives most of its funding from Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the vice-president of the UAE and owner of Manchester City football club, and is paying the £1.16bn in debts that the Barclay family owed to Lloyds bank with the intention of swiftly converting the loans to full ownership.
“The concern is not foreign ownership, it is foreign state ownership,” said Alicia Kearns, the Conservative MP for Rutland and Melton, expressing concerns about editorial influence at the titles. “You cannot separate sheikh and state.”
Read more: theguardian.com