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Newspaper blanks out May after press conference ban

A daily newspaper has refused to cover a visit to its patch by Prime Minister Theresa May after being denied access to a press conference.

Mrs May was in Scotland yesterday as part of her whistle-stop tour to promote her Brexit deal ahead of the Commons vote on 11 December.

But pro-independence Scottish daily The National was barred by the Number 10 Press Office from attending a press conference with the Prime Minister.

It prompted the paper to run a dramatic front page today showing Mrs May’s silhouette above a dummy two-deck headline, with some words explaining why it had refused to cover the visit.

Inside, a large area of white space occupied the space where a report on the May visit would have appeared.

Alongside this was a story about the ban imposed on the newspaper, which Downing Street put down to “limited capacity.”

Editor Callum Baird told HTFP: “It’s absolutely outrageous that the Prime Minister would seek to exclude a newspaper from a press event just because she doesn’t like its editorial line.

“We’re not buying her excuse about limited capacity – the factory she was visiting employs hundreds of people so clearly there’s lot of room. Perhaps she’s been learning lessons from her close friend Donald Trump.

“In any case, her move has completely backfired as this attempt to silence our paper has completely overshadowed her flying visit to Scotland, and we’ve signed up many new subscribers for taking a stand on this issue.

“It was also incredible pleasing to see how much good will we received from fellow journalists from across the world. We are very grateful for their support.”

John Toner, the NUJ’s national organiser for Scotland, called for answers from No 10, saying it was “vital in a democracy that newspapers were given access to those in power”.

SNP MSP George Adam said: “As is par-for-the-course on her day trips to Scotland, she’s hiding from the public and dodging questions from the press – only speaking to a hand-picked audience.”

Daily Mail columnist Stephen Daisley tweeted: “If No. 10 is deliberately excluding @ScotNational from press events, that is unacceptable. You don’t get to shut out a paper just because you don’t like its editorial line. I would expect @ScotTories to make this clear to their Downing St colleagues.”

No 10 did not respond to requests from The National for a comment.

The double-page spread where a report on the May visit was replaced by white space

The double-page spread where a report on the May visit was replaced by white space


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  • November 29, 2018 at 1:56 pm

    I’m sure that if it had existed then the National would also have highlighted the exclusion of the Daily Telegraph by Alex Salmond at the press conference after the 2014 referendum. Perhaps its stablemate the Sunday Herald did so?
    Perhaps Mrs May was learning her lessons from Mr Salmond?

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  • November 29, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    If Mrs May is so convinced she has the right Brexit deal for Britain, why so coy?

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  • November 29, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    Looks like a typical Newsquest paper on a good day!

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  • November 29, 2018 at 4:34 pm

    Would have thought someone with a bit of creativity could have come up with something a bit more imaginative for the bottom section of the front page than just keeping in “headline in here”/”This is a subheading in here” dummy headings. Get the point of why they have done it like that though.

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  • November 30, 2018 at 9:08 am

    Can’t imagine the readers missed much.Just another self-serving politician spouting off, all said and done.

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  • November 30, 2018 at 9:47 am

    I’m with Sub It Out on this one. Not very imaginative.
    Surely, wasting valuable space in these difficult days is a no-no?
    They could have really been more powerful, asking why and what May has to hide.
    To put in white space inside, and sub header and headline blocks would suggest to me that The National didn’t have enough news to print.
    Sad, because I can see the thought process, but it handed victory to May and her team of self-serving PR lackeys.
    Incidentally, I was put on a blacklist by Tony Blair’s PR team because they didn’t like the questions I put to him back in ’98. Nothing new here.

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  • November 30, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    I see Callum Baird has decided that stirring up victimhood and playing to the tinfoil hat element of their dwindling readership is the best way to go. A lot of those hitting out at the decision to exclude the National were supporting former First Minister and Russian TV host Alex Salmond’s decision to ban a bunch of papers – including The Guardian – from his exit presser.

    It is hard to tell though, given the regular production snafus from Renfield St, if that’s a deliberate white space or just another piece of poor layout work.

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  • November 30, 2018 at 5:57 pm

    It looks Naff. Wrong to bar the reporter but equally wrong to waste the space. Better to have put a NIB in somewhere explaining why the PM wasn’t covered.

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  • November 30, 2018 at 7:08 pm

    It’s Scotland. It doesn’t have any bearing on anything that’s important. Small minds; small people.

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  • December 3, 2018 at 12:04 pm

    Smacks of ‘we tried to get a story, but didn’t try too hard so we can play the victim card and use that to push our partisan line’.

    Any journalist worth their salt would get every word from that conference by other means.


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