Theresa May Criticised For Partying With Daily Mail's Paul Dacre Amid Government Turmoil

Chris York

Theresa May has had a busy few days as she struggles to keep her Government together in the face of resignations, scandal and the ever-present Brexit quagmire.

But last night the Prime Minister found time to attend a party in honour of Paul Dacre’s 25th year as Daily Mail Editor, a move described as “utterly nauseating” and “putting all satirists out of a job” by her critics.

Just hours after forcing the humiliating resignation of Priti Patel, the second Cabinet Minister to do so in just a week, May and her husband Philip attended the celebration at the lavish Stationers Hall in the City of London.

Alastair Campbell and Labour’s David Lammy led the reaction with many others asking where the PM’s priorities lay.

Dacre, 68, is one of the most powerful figures in UK media and has used his influence to push for Brexit and a reduction in immigration.

The Daily Mail has been a staunch supporter of May and Dacre was the only media figure to be privately dined by No 10 during her first six months in office.

In the wake of the Brexit referendum last year a leaked email from Daily Mail columnist Sarah Vine to her husband Michael Gove revealed the reach of Dacre and his contemporary, Rupert Murdoch, in British politics.

It read:

One simple message: You MUST have SPECIFIC assurances from Boris OTHERWISE you cannot guarantee your support. The details can be worked out later on, but without that you have no leverage.

Crucially, the membership will not have the necessary reassurance to back Boris, neither will Dacre/Murdoch, who instinctively dislike Boris but trust your ability enough to support a Boris Gove ticket. Do not concede any ground. Be your stubborn best. GOOD LUCK.

(Dan Kitwood via Getty Images)

May is facing further questions about the Government’s knowledge of Priti Patel’s unofficial Israel meetings following her resignation as International Development Secretary.

Labour is set to continue pressing for more information about how much – and when – the Prime Minister knew about Patel’s secret meetings with senior Israeli figures.

Shadow international development secretary Kate Osamor said Mrs May must either get control of her “decaying government” following the resignation of Ms Patel or step aside and let Labour govern.

And Deputy Labour Leader, Tom Watson, has written to Mrs May demanding answers about officials’ knowledge of Ms Patel’s activities during a holiday in Israel in August.

Osamor said: “Priti Patel appears to have breached the Ministerial Code, gone behind the Government’s back, and misled the British public.

“After initially denying the allegations, then repeatedly changing her story and failing to disclose all of her meetings, it is right that she has now resigned.

“But we still need to know what was discussed in these meetings and what Number 10 and the Foreign Office knew and when.

“Theresa May must get control of her chaotic cabinet and decaying government or step aside for Labour to govern for the many not the few.”

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