MPs risk careers

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The Independent Online
Two Tory MPs yesterday risked their careers as ministerial aides by forcing a change by the Government to the Broadcasting Bill to open broadcasting to more free market competition.

Peter Atkinson and John Whittingdale forced the concessions from Iain Sproat, the minister of state for National Heritage.

They will be pressing more far-reaching amendments next Tuesday, to remove the limit on cross-media ownership which is at the heart of the Bill, and the Government clearly fears it could lose on the committee. They would face the sack, if they vote against the Government.

Labour's support for the move underlined the extent to which Labour is following a free-market approach to broadcasting.

Mr Sproat agreed during the committee stage to drop from the Bill a measure which would have prevented broadcasting companies with headquarters overseas from owning digital channels in Britain.