Ofcom has been warned the attempted takeover of BSKYB by Rupert Murdoch is a defining test of “its capacity and strength as a regulator”, amid the revelation that the media mogul was present for Michael Gove’s interview with Donald Trump.
In a letter to the broadcast regulator, Ed Miliband said the “extraordinary pattern of criminality and wrongdoing” revealed to have taken place at News International meant an inquiry into the new bid was needed with ”urgency”.
The letter is also singed by former Lib Dem business secretary Vince Cable, former Tory chairman Baroness Warsi, former Labour shadow justice secretary Lord Falconer and crossbench peer Baroness O’Neill.
Miliband has urged the government to block the £11.2bn bid by Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox to take control of the 61% of Sky it does not already own. Murdoch’s 2011 bid was derailed by the phone hacking scandal.
Ofcom is pressed by the senior politicians to confirm it will conduct an inquiry into the new bid as well as to set out its timetable.
Earlier on Thursday, it was revealed by the Financial Times that Murdoch, who owns The Times, was in the room when Gove interviewed Trump for newspaper. Something the former Tory cabinet minister neglected to reveal when writing about his meeting with the US president.
Miliband told The Huffington Post UK: “This shows the power of Rupert Murdoch. And why we should be cautious about his influence over our media landscape.”
21st Century Fox has said it will maintain Sky’s “standard of excellence” if the takeover goes ahead.