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    5. Liz Truss calls on government to protect Telegraph's editorial independence


    Liz Truss calls on government to protect Telegraph's editorial independence

    Liz Truss said it was vital that The Telegraph could publish freely. Photo: Dermot Tatlow for The Telegraph

    Liz Truss has called on the government to protect The Telegraph's editorial independence amid growing concerns about the takeover of its publications by an Abu Dhabi-backed fund.

    The former prime minister said it was vital it is important that the newspaper can be published “freely.” after ministers decided to launch a review of the agreement amid fears of censorship and foreign interference.

    In an interview with The Telegraph in Washington DC, Ms Truss also said the UK must work to ensure the Gulf countries are not part of the agreement. a growing global “axis of authoritarianism” led by Russia, China and Iran.

    “I am a big supporter of a free press and have always been a big supporter of a free press,” she said. “I want the government to ensure that any press ownership allows them to freely publish according to what they think is right.”

    Ownership of The Telegraph will pass to RedBird IMI, an investment project. a fund headed by Jeff Zucker, a former CNN executive, and backed by Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a member of the UAE royal family.

    The fund provided a £600 million loan to the Barclay family, which has owned Telegraph Media Group since 2004, to pay off debt to Lloyds Banking Group. IMI, an Abu Dhabi company, is lending them an additional £600 million to pay off other debts to the bank. Under the terms of the deal, the first loan will be converted into shares in The Telegraph and The Spectator magazine.

    But Lucy Fraser, the culture secretary, last week temporarily blocked the trust from taking control of The Telegraph while she carries out her own review.

    Her decision came after a dozen Conservative MPs, including Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the former Tory leader, and Alicia Cairns, the chair of Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, wrote to the government asking for a review. They warned of a “very real potential threat to national security” if the deal goes through.

    Liz Truss is based in Washington, D.C. , to discuss foreign policy with wavering Republican congressmen who have threatened to cut off U.S. security assistance to Ukraine. Photo: Dermot Tatlow for The Telegraph

    In an interview with The Telegraph, Ms Truss said Britain must try and prevent the UAE from being drawn into an alliance with hostile foreign powers, including Russia and China.

    Referring to the rise of the USSR during the Cold War, she said : “What worries me is that we have an axis of authoritarian regimes trying to build their influence around the world, and what we need to do is show strength. It is simultaneously an economic, military and moral force.

    “We need to attract other countries that are not part of this axis to cooperate with the West and to our values. No country is perfect. And if you only had allies who fully shared all the values ​​that we hold dear in Britain, you wouldn't have so many allies. So I think we need to go to countries and convince them.”

    Ms Truss is in Washington, D.C., to discuss foreign policy with wavering Republican congressmen who have threatened to cut off US aid to Ukraine in the field of security.

    She said the wars in Ukraine and Israel, as well as concerns about Taiwan, were part of the same conflict of democracies against “authoritarian dictators.”

    “These are not multiple wars – they are the same war,” – she added. “This is a war against freedom, democracy and our way of life. It is what it is, and we should see it that way. If you look at Israel, or Ukraine, or Taiwan, these are free democracies that are neighbors of autocracies.

    “We must give our full support to the Israeli government. No ifs, no buts. I don't want double standards to be applied, for Israel to be held to different standards than other countries.

    “This is a free democracy in a part of the world where free democracies are rare and the heinous crimes, rape, brutality and child abductions that occur are truly horrific.”


    Ms Truss called on the US to do more to support Ukraine in the coming months as the country faces a winter air offensive by Russian troops, saying: “What I would like to see is more provided weapons that will really help Ukraine win. So, long-range weapons, for example, mine clearance equipment, for example.

    “Airplanes would also be extremely useful to allow the Ukrainians to actually have what they need to win the war, rather than just maintaining the status quo.” .

    Responding to the UK Supreme Court's decision last month to declare the government's policy of deporting migrants from Rwanda illegal, Ms Truss said Rishi Sunak should introduce legislation to bypass the European Court of Human Rights.

    Asked if she supported the government's plan to pass legislation allowing the flights, she replied: “I'll wait to see the law.”

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