Rupert Murdoch's Times newspaper backs Remain

Where the media stands on the EU referendum is not the main event, but it matters.

So it is intriguing that The Times newspaper has decided to back Remain and the Prime Minister - although it won't show its hand till next Wednesday, the day before the big vote.

This is a striking decision given that its tabloid sister in Rupert Murdoch's News Corp empire, The Sun, published such a passionate front-page leader in favour of Leave yesterday.

The Sun, sister paper to The Times, has taken a firm stance in favour of Brexit. Credit: The Sun

Why the difference?

Well Rupert Murdoch is personally in favour of Brexit - and he has never been shy in admitting he takes a strong personal interest in The Sun's political positions.

As for The Times, it has always enjoyed a more arms-length relationship with the proprietor.

And The Times has taken the view that as its readers are largely in favour of staying in the EU, it would be self-harming to advise them to vote the other way.

The point about Murdoch is that he is political but not to the extent that it seriously damages his commercial interests - although there are some executives in his sprawling media business who fear Brexit will worsen the group's prospects in Europe for a while.

As for the significance for the outcome of the referendum of Times versus Sun, you don't need telling that The Sun has many more readers - although the under-pressure prime minister will take friends wherever he can get them right now.