Prime Minister David Cameron’s spokesman says the government supports a Labour party motion — to be debated in Parliament tomorrow — that urges News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch to abandon his $14 billion plan to acquire BSkyB, the Associated Press reports. The resolution wouldn’t require Murdoch to change course or force the government’s Competition Commission to reject a deal giving Murdoch the 60% of BSkyB that he doesn’t already own. But it would be a powerful expression of opinion. “We have said that the purchase of BSkyB should not proceed until after criminal inquiries are complete,” Labour leader Ed Miliband says. “The simplest way to achieve this is for Rupert Murdoch to recognise the feelings of the public and the will of the House of Commons and withdraw this bid.”
The government’s announcement follows news that Murdoch, Deputy COO James Murdoch, and News International CEO Rebekah Brooks have been asked to testify at a parliamentary hearing about the News Of The World phone hacking scandal. That could take place next week.
Also, former PM Gordon Brown told the BBC that two other Murdoch-owned newspapers, The Sun and The Sunday Times, had hired “known criminals” to spy on him for a 2006 report that disclosed his infant son had cystic fibrosis. “If I, with all the protection and all the defenses and all the security that a chancellor of the Exchequer or a prime minister has, am so vulnerable to unscrupulous tactics, unlawful tactics, methods that have been used in the way we have found, what about the ordinary citizen?” Brown said.
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