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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...