Labour could force Wapping to sell a paper, says Ed Miliband
Labour could force Rupert Murdoch to sell at least one of his UK newspapers in order reduce his company's influence and power in the UK, the party's leader Ed Miliband said yesterday. He told the Leveson Inquiry that he had serious concerns about any one newspaper group controlling more than 30 per cent of the newspaper market.
At present Mr Murdoch's newspapers, The Sun, The Times, The Sun on Sunday and The Sunday Times have a market share of around 34 per cent.
Labour is understood to be examining plans to include a cap on media ownership in their next election manifesto. While they will wait to see what, if anything, Lord Justice Leveson proposes on media ownership before coming forward with firm proposals, senior figures are convinced Labour should promise to impose specific limits on media ownership.
Yesterday, in his evidence to Lord Justice Leveson Mr Miliband gave the clearest public indication yet of the party's thinking. He said that his "strong instinct" was that no one person or company should control 34 per cent of the British press.
"There's a question about what the limits should be. I should say we have no worries about someone owning 20 per cent of the news market. I think there is then a question of between 20 and 30 per cent where you should set a limit.
But he insisted his aim was not to "stifle one news organisation" – even though News International would likely be the only newspaper group affected by change. "My aim is plurality and a sense that ... one organisation does not exert an overweening power," he said. Mr Miliband also said he believed some form of statutory regulation of the press was needed.
Labour sources later suggested that this could be in the form of a cross-party Bill setting up a new complaints body – which would then be entirely independent of Parlia- ment or Government.
"I think that we need something which is independent of the press and politicians, something which is comprehensive covering all newspapers, magazines and there is a clear question about internet organisations, something which is accessible, provides fast-track justice or redress for individuals," he said.
Mr Miliband was also asked about his relationship with News International both in government and as Leader of the Opposition. He said he had not had good relations with the newspapers owned by Murdoch either before or after the phone-hacking scandal but admitted his party in government had become too close to the company "in the sense... that when there were abuses by the press we didn't speak out".
"It was a sense of fear I suppose in some senses about speaking out on those issues that were affecting ordinary members of the public. We didn't speak out on those issues where there was increasing evidence about News International's behaviour."
Mr Miliband said he had met Rupert Murdoch in June 2011. "I believe I should have raised the issue of phone hacking with him. I didn't."
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Isis publicly behead man in Syrian town square for 'insulting Allah' as he screams for help
One spelling error costs Companies House up to £9 million after being sued for ruining business
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£450 per day: Ashdown Group: HR Systems Project Manager - Surrey - up to £450 ...
£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An excellent opportunity ...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Systems Administra...