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Mounting Pressure on Govt over bskyb bid

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Mounting Pressure on Govt over bskyb bid

Post  Panda on Mon 11 Jul - 7:19

Mounting Pressure On Govt Over BSkyB Bid






7:02am UK, Monday July 11, 2011
Pressure is mounting to freeze Rupert Murdoch's planned takeover of BSkyB -
as a phone-hacking scandal threatens to cause a major political storm.











Whitehall lawyers were reportedly scrambling to devise a way to stall the
deal and avoid the embarrassment of Liberal Democrats siding with Labour against
it in a Commons vote.
Mr Murdoch held talks with some of his most trusted lieutenants on Sunday
night after flying in to the UK
- on the day the News of the World was
shut down - to take personal charge of the crisis.
Among those who met over dinner was News International chief executive
Rebekah Brooks - editor of the News Of The World at the time the mobile phone of
murdered teenager Milly Dowler was hacked.



Rupert Murdoch reading the final edition of the News Of
The World


It was reported Mrs Brooks - who has faced sustained calls to quit but denies
any knowledge of hacking under her watch - will be questioned by Scotland Yard
detectives investigating hacking and corruption claims this week.
Questions also centred on who at News International was aware of an internal
report from 2007, passed recently by the firm to the police.
It reportedly shows the existence of payments to police officers for
information and that hacking was more widespread than previously thought.
Mr Murdoch was urged by Labour leader Ed Miliband to put his expansion plans
on hold for the duration of the criminal probe and also repeated his calls for
Mrs Brooks to be removed.
But the media mogul indicated she remained his priority. And, if he also
refuses to budge on the takeover, Prime Minister David Cameron faces an awkward
dilemma in deciding how to deal with the issue.



James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks leave after meeting


Senior Liberal Democrats made clear on Sunday that they were prepared to back
Labour in a vote on Wednesday, if it tabled a non-partisan motion calling for a
delay.
With many Tories also extremely uncomfortable with the public fallout from
allowing the move to go ahead in the present circumstances, there is a serious
prospect of defeat.
While experts were divided on Sunday on the legal force of any vote, none
were in any doubt that it would be almost impossible for the Government to
ignore it.
Cabinet Minister Philip Hammond accused Mr Miliband of "playing politics"
with the issue - insisting the Government shared the public concerns but was
legally bound to handle the competition issue correctly.
:: Read Jon Craig's analysis of Ed Miliband's performance on
the Boulton & Co blog.

He pointed instead to the possibility that media regulator Ofcom could step
in by investigating whether the allegations meant News Corp was no longer "fit
and proper" to run BSkyB.
Mr Miliband said: "When the public have seen the disgusting revelations that
we have seen this week, the idea that this organisation, which engaged in these
terrible practices, should be allowed to take over BSkyB... without the criminal
investigation having been completed and on the basis of assurances from that
self-same organisation - frankly, that just won't wash with the public."
Further political pressure will be applied by campaigners and phone-hacking
victims including Milly Dowler's family when they meet Deputy Prime Minister
Nick Clegg in the first of a series of talks with senior politicians.



Labour leader Ed Miliband


Organised by the Media Standards Trust, which led a major campaign for a
public inquiry, they will demand "stronger, clearer and faster action".
Milly's parents are suing the News of the World over claims their daughter's
phone was targeted by the newspaper when she went missing in 2002.
The Prime Minister announced on Friday there would be two public inquiries,
one led by a judge looking into phone hacking by newspapers and possible
corruption involving police officers taking cash for information - and another
into the wider question of press regulation.
Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, ex-royal editor Clive Goodman
and an unnamed 63-year-old man were all arrested and questioned by detectives
over recent days before being released on police bail until October.
Mr Cameron faced renewed claims at the weekend he appointed Mr Coulson as his
Number 10 communications director despite warnings.
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Re: Mounting Pressure on Govt over bskyb bid

Post  Panda on Mon 11 Jul - 7:31

There is a video in the middle of this report but I didn"t know how to include it here, but part of the report says concern is growing on both sides of the
Atlantic .
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