Broadcasting BIll completes committee stage

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The Independent Online
The Broadcasting Bill, which allows greater cross-ownership of newspapers, television and radio companies, and sets up a framework for digital television, yesterday completed its committee stage in the Commons. Iain Sproat, the National Heritage minister, fuelled speculation that privatisation of Channel Four could be included in the Tory election manifesto, when he persuaded two MPs, John Whittingdale and David Shaw, to withdraw a new clause and allow the Bill through.

The Bill will return for its report stage and third reading in the Commons next month, when the Government could be defeated over moves by Labour with some Tory support to break the exclusive rights by BSkyB television to sports programmes. Colin Brown