Call for BSkyB takeover delay over phone-hacking investigation
The Government has been urged to delay Rupert Murdoch's proposed takeover of BSkyB until police finish their investigation into phone-hacking at the News of the World.
The media tycoon's News Corp, ultimate owners of the News of the World, was given the green light last month to buy the 61% of BSkyB it does not already own.
Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he planned to accept News Corp's offer rather than refer the bid to the Competition Commission.
But a Labour MP said today the deal should not go through while detectives continued to investigate allegations that journalists at News International, Murdoch's newspaper division, illegally intercepted celebrities' and politicians' phone messages.
Sheila Gilmore (Edinburgh East) told MPs: "In light of the considerable concerns which have arisen because of the ongoing criminal investigations about phone-hacking in the News International stable, is the Secretary of State now minded to postpone any decision on the future of BSkyB until such time as the criminal investigation has been concluded?"
Speaking at Commons question time, Mr Hunt said: "The decision I have to take in respect of the Sky merger is about media plurality. We are in the process of taking that decision."
But he added: "I am very concerned about the news to do with phone-hacking. It is a criminal offence, two people have already gone to prison and three people have been arrested.
"The police must follow their investigations wherever they lead. The public must have confidence that in a free press, the press uses that freedom responsibly."
The Sunday tabloid tried to draw a line under the scandal earlier this month when it published a prominent apology and agreed to pay damages to phone-hacking victims.
The move followed the arrests of three serving and former journalists: James Weatherup, a senior reporter who has also worked as a news editor at the title, chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck, 50, and former assistant editor (news) Ian Edmondson, 42.
Scotland Yard has endured repeated criticism over its handling of the original phone-hacking inquiry, which led to the convictions of News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire in 2007.
General Election 2015: David Cameron catching up in polls – but he badly needs a clear lead
South Africa xenophobic attacks: Shops looted and violence on streets of Johannesburg as foreigners are forced to hide in police stations
18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
- 1 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 2 US? China? India? The 10 biggest economies in 2030 will be...
- 3 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes