Leading article: James Murdoch bows to the inevitable

 

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The surprise is not that James Murdoch is stepping down as the chairman of BSkyB, but rather that it has taken him so long to go.

Resigning from the chairmanship of News International was never going to be enough to prevent the fallout from the phone-hacking scandal spilling over on to BSkyB (in which the newspaper group's parent company, News Corp, is a major shareholder).

Not only will the Leveson Inquiry and on-going police investigations keep the younger Mr Murdoch in the spotlight, but with the threat of overt criticism in an impending report from the high-profile Commons Media Committee, his position was already untenable.

Add to that the regulatory review into whether BSkyB is "fit and proper" to retain its broadcasting licence, and even Mr Murdoch's decision to remain as a non-executive director at the company starts to look ambitious.

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