Telephone Hacking — Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:06 am on 6th April 2011.

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Photo of Lord Prescott Lord Prescott Labour 11:06 am, 6th April 2011

My Lords, the Minister will be aware that on 3 March I asked the noble Baroness, Lady Rawlings, whether the Government would delay the decision on the acquisition of BSkyB by the Murdoch press until all these investigations and inquiries had been completed. In her supplementary reply, the noble Baroness said:

"The phone-hacking allegations are very serious, but they are matters for the criminal courts ... They have no bearing on the separate matter of media plurality and a decision on the merger".

Is the noble Lord aware of the decision yesterday, following the imprisonment of two employees of the Murdoch press, to arrest two senior employees of the Murdoch press? We learnt yesterday that, in the parliamentary committee in the other place, conflicting evidence was given by the Director of Public Prosecutions and Mr Yates, who was in charge of the original inquiry. Is the Minister also aware that Ms Rebekah Brooks gave evidence as the chief executive of the Murdoch press and said that it paid the police for information-an admission of a criminal act? Are the Government aware, in making the decision on BSkyB, that it would be totally unacceptable for a company that is actively involved at all levels in criminal acts to be given control of BSkyB? Will they now delay the decision until all these investigations have been completed?

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d gadfly
Posted on 7 Apr 2011 2:22 pm (Report this annotation)

Lord Prescott knows that, at the end of May, a court case will begin in Southampton, whereby his lordship's criminal actions (including far more serious breaches of privacy) will come under scrutiny.

I suspect that, by attacking the government, both directly and indirectly, with these phone hacking allegations, John Prescott hopes the government will be persuaded to help prevent his own wrongdoing from being punished.