Parliament to say no to Murdoch as police widen News International net

MPs will unite today to oppose Rupert Murdoch's takeover of BSkyB, with the prime minister outlining the details of the inquiry into the phone hacking scandal.

In Parliament today, MPs from all sides will unite to oppose Rupert Murdoch’s takeover of BSkyB, and the the prime minister will outline the details of the judge-led inquiry into the phone hacking scandal.

On the legal front, Scotland Yard have threatened to widen the scope of their investigation to include the “criminal liability of [News International] directors”, while the pressure is being turned up on News Corporation in the US, with Senators questioning whether phone hacking “has broken United States law”.

Following Prime Minister’s Questions, David Cameron will outline in full the details of the inquiry into phone hacking, its terms, its scope and its remit. The inquiry is expected to look at the relationship between politicians and the press, and politicians and the media, with politicians past and present being compelled to give evidence under oath.

Then, from around 2:00, the Opposition Day Debate on the News Corp takeover of BSkyB will commence. The motion states:

“This House believes that it is in the public interest for Rupert Murdoch and News Corporation to withdraw their bid for BSkyB.”

This morning, Labour leader Ed Miliband said:

“It’s not conceivable that Rupert Murdoch could expand his reach in the British media while the issues that happened at News International, while the issues of criminality are still being investigated and while there is so much that seems to be coming out day by day.

“I think this is a moment when the House of Commons can rise to the occasions and can be a united House of Commons.”

While on the judge-led inquiry, leading lawyer and inquiry expert Richard Lissack QC told the Today programme:

“It can [start now], there is prevision for this… It can be difficult but it can be done via the ring fencing of certain areas… There would be an unhappiness if the whole thing is parked but it might be necessary if you can’t separate the issues [with that of the police inquiry…

“To get a good inquiry you need an independent chairman, broad terms of references, the judge must be able to compel witnesses… It must be open and accessible… There must be timely reporting and there must be follow ups to this.”

And on the criminal front, as Left Foot Forward reported earlier this morning, pressure is being ramped up in the States for a legal investigation into Murdoch’s empire, while in the UK, today’s Telegraph reports:

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers, the officer leading Scotland Yard’s new inquiry, yesterday suggested to MPs that the scope of the investigation could be widened beyond journalists at the News of the World to include the “criminal liability of directors”.

Broadening the inquiry could implicate more senior managers at the defunct tabloid’s owners, including James Murdoch, the chairman of News International, and Rebekah Brooks, its chief executive.

Left Foot Forward will have more on today’s momentous events in Parliament later this afternoon.

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