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Page last updated at 08:31 GMT, Saturday, 28 April 2012 09:31 UK

Salmond defends Murdoch meetings


The SNP leader and Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond, has mounted a strong defence of his meetings with Rupert Murdoch, saying that they were primarily aimed at securing jobs and investment for Scotland.

Speaking to Today presenter Justin Webb, Mr Salmond said that he wanted to have a "good professional relationship" with Mr Murdoch.

And he added that he had met the News Corporation chief five times in the past five years, as opposed to 18 such meetings between Mr Murdoch and David Cameron and 19 with leaders of the Labour Party.

Mr Salmond has faced fierce criticism in the Scottish Parliament after details of his correspondence and meetings with Mr Murdoch emerged at the Leveson Inquiry. Emails released at the inquiry suggested Mr Salmond was prepared to lobby the UK culture secretary for Mr Murdoch's bid to take full control of BSkyB, something which Mr Salmond has strongly denied.

Referring to the inquiry, Mr Salmond said that "the idea that malpractice and potential illegality is confined to one newspaper organisation is for the birds".

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