Vince Cable: I feel vindicated for declaring war on Rupert Murdoch over BSkyB

Business Secretary's announcement piles pressure on Cameron over links to News Corp

Business Secretary Vince Cable feels "vindicated" over his dealings with Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, as links between the global media giant and the Conservative Party come under more intense scrutiny.

The Liberal Democrat big-hitter was stripped of overseeing New Corp's bid to buy out BSkyB after telling undercover reporters he had "declared war" on Murdoch's empire. But he said he had been "independent and objective" and handled the bid in a "proper and fair way".

His comments appear to further undermine Prime Minister David Cameron and Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who are under fire for being too close to News Corp. Mr Cable said he tried to keep News Corp at "arm's length".

He declined to discuss Mr Hunt's conduct when he was pressed during a TV interview yesterday, saying that the Culture Secretary would give his own defence to the Leveson Inquiry in due course.

However, with former News of the World editors Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson due to give evidence under oath to the ongoing inquiry into press ethics later this week, the Government is likely to come in for more criticism before Mr Hunt has the opportunity to testify.

Yesterday's development came as details emerged of a meeting between Jose Maria Aznar – a member of News Corp's board – and Mr Cameron, George Osborne and William Hague only weeks after Mr Murdoch's Sun newspaper ditched its support for Labour to back the Tories.

The meeting, revealed by The Independent on Sunday, was in November 2009 when Mr Cameron was seeking media backing in the run-up to the 2010 general election which led to him becoming Prime Minister.

Significantly, it was arranged by News Corp lobbyist Frédéric Michel, whose emails with Mr Hunt's private adviser, Adam Smith, led to calls for Mr Hunt's to quit when they were published by the Leveson Inquiry.

Mr Smith has resigned but Mr Hunt refuses to quit, saying that his evidence to Leveson will prove he is innocent of wrongdoing. A photo (left) of Mr Cameron meeting Mr Aznar, a former Spanish Prime Minister, emerged last night.

Mr Michel, whose emails to ex-BSkyB chairman James Murdoch implied that Mr Hunt was privately supportive of News Corp's controversial bid, has been dismissed by some Conservatives as a "fantasist". But the fact he was able to arrange such a meeting with the future Prime Minister shows he held some sway.

Mr Aznar, a non-executive director at BSkyB, has a powerful position in its hierarchy. Last June he joined Mr Murdoch when he came to London in advance of Mr Hunt's scheduled announcement on whether News Corp's takeover would be approved – only for the decision to be put on ice as details of the phone-hacking scandal emerged.

A Downing Street spokesman said all contact with the media company had been declared correctly.

"The Prime Minister has had no inappropriate discussions about the BSkyB bid, either as Prime Minister or before. He deliberately excluded himself from the process," he said.

News
Jennifer Lawrence was among the stars allegedly hacked
peopleActress and 100 others on 'master list' after massive hack
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
News
i100
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

Senior Asset Manager

£70000 - £75000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Katie Robinson +44 (...

IT Support Analyst (2nd Line Support) - City, London

£28000 - £30000 per annum + Pension, Healthcare: Ashdown Group: IT Support Ana...

KS1 Teacher

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: KS1 Teaching Specialist Leic...

Y3 Teacher - Loughborough

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Are you a Key Stage 2 specia...

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor