Conservative Diary

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Will The Indepenski give the Tories a fairer deal?

6a00d83451b31c69e201310f423f5e970c-250wi According to Robert Peston, The Independent and its £10m annual losses - founded by journalists 25 years ago in order to be free of the control of a big media baron - will become the property of Alexander Lebedev within the next 48 hours.

Since former KGB officer Lebedev became owner of the London Evening Standard the newspaper has stopped being the cheerleader for Boris Johnson that it was when Veronica Wadley was its editor. Journalists are given more freedom under Geordie Greig's more laissez-faire editorship. My sources at City Hall tell me that Boris still has a good relationship with the Standard and with Lebedev, and his son. George Osborne and David Cameron tend to get a somewhat rougher treatment, however.

CCHQ is relaxed about The Indy's new owner. One war room source put it simply: "The Independent couldn't be more hostile to us than it is today."

The most radical change that Lebedev made to the Evening Standard was to turn it into a free sheet. There is speculation that he might do the same with his second British title. Over time that might make The Independent a force to be reckoned with again.

Tim Montgomerie


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