Jeremy Hunt pressed on BskyB ruling delay

The Government should explain its decision to apparently delay approval of Rupert Murdoch's bid to take over BSkyB, Labour said today.







Shadow culture secretary Ivan Lewis said News Corps' acquisition of BSkyB was "now a matter of great public importance and great public interest".



Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt should be summoned to the Commons to explain his decision to delay a ruling on the proposed takeover, he said.



Raising a point of order in the Commons, Mr Lewis said: "As members of the House will be aware, News Corps' acquisition of BSkyB is now a matter of great public importance and great public interest.



"There are rumours circulating in briefings coming from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport that the Secretary of State intends to delay his decision for a minimum of three months.



"On the day we hear that the phones were hacked of the families of brave men and women who died fighting for this country in Iraq and Afghanistan, we believe that on a day like this that the least the Secretary of State should do is come to this House and make a statement this afternoon as a matter of urgency."



But deputy speaker Lindsay Hoyle said he could not demand Mr Hunt make a statement.



He added that he not been told any minister intended to make a statement but if the situation changed MPs would be told immediately.













The consultation was due to end at noon tomorrow, coming after Mr Hunt paved the way for the deal to go through last month when he agreed beefed-up proposals that will see Sky News run as an independent company to allay fears that the deal would give Mr Murdoch's News Corporation too much control of the media.

The bid already faces opposition from rivals in the media industry and some politicians but the phone-hacking scandal brought the deal under even greater scrutiny and yesterday Labour leader Ed Miliband urged the Government to refer it to the Competition Commission.



News Corp, which also owns The Sun and The Times newspapers in the UK, wants to buy the 61% of shares in BSkyB it does not already own.



Last year it offered 700p a share, valuing the company at £12.3 billion, but the board told Mr Murdoch to come back with a higher offer.



Since then its share price has boomed on the back of strong results.



But the recent furore has caused BSkyB's share price to drop by nearly 4% this week, wiping £562 million from its market value as investors fret that the deal may not go through.



Now Mr Hunt is understood to have put off making a final decision, which could see the proposed merger referred to the Competition Commission, until September.



A source close to the Culture Secretary denied reports that the decision over BSkyB was being delayed, but indicated it was not expected "imminently" and may be several more months as officials wade through some 100,000 responses to the consultation on the proposed take-over.



"We are not delaying the decision because we never had a timetable to do it," the source said.



"We are just following due process and, given there are so many responses, it is going to take some time."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
An asteroid is set to pass so close to Earth it will be visible with binoculars
news
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project