13 Jul 2011

LIVE BLOG: Murdoch pulls BSkyB bid over phone hacking

Rupert Murdoch withdraws his BSkyB takeover bid as David Cameron vows to end the “ugly chapter” of phone hacking. Here’s how the day unfolded.

D-Day for Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB takeover bid?

• Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp withdraws BSkyB takeover bid

• Cameron ‘welcomes’ decision, Miliband hails ‘victory’ for people

• Former PM Brown says he knows of other hack victims not yet public

19.00: Commons debate on phone hacking concludes. The “ayes” have it, a rare occasion of full cross-party agreement.

18.55: David Heath says “I believe we have a unique opportunity to get it right”, calling the debacle a “cancer of wrongdoing”.

18.50: David Heath, Lib Dem, says MPs “should avoid being self-congratulatory” but over the last few days “we have demonstrated we can express the views of the public”.

18.45: Hailing today as “historic” Ivan Lewis MP says UK public is asking “Who can we trust?” and says the “public would never have understood it” if the BSkyB deal went ahead.

Read more: Private investigator describes inner workings of his shadowy trade

18.30: Chris Bryant MP says “parliament has been lied to time and time again” and alleges that News Corp is not “fit and proper” in its present holding of BSkyB.

18.00:Ben Bradshaw echoes Brown’s words attacking James Murdoch’s 2009 MacTaggart Lecture which concluded: “The only reliable, durable, and perpetual guarantor of independence is profit.” Bradshaw says the speech was “chilling”.

17.50: Brown: Ofcom has announced it is to apply its ‘fit and proper’ test to the remaining holdings of BSkyB.

17.45: Brown attacks “cover up” by News International and calls for NI papers to print front page apologies to victims.

More from Channel 4 News: Sun defends source of Brown son story

17.40: Brown says as earlier as 2002, police informed Rebekah Brooks about wrongdoing but News International did not act upon it.

17.30: Brown, accused of hypocrisy, hits back by telling MPs there was no “cosy” relationship between his Labour government and News International, citing a headline in The Sun that portrayed him as “Dr Evil”.

17.25: Gordon Brown says victims’ tears were “bought and sold by News International who “let the rats out of the sewer”. He lambasts alleged criminal activity, saying it was on an “industrial scale”.

17.20: Former PM Gordon Brown addresses MPs: “I have never sought to impose restrictions on press. Although I today make proposals for reform, uit is my judgment that we should reform but never undermine… a free press.”

It has become clear that it is too difficult to progress in this climate. Chase Carey, News Corp

17.00: Opening the Commons debate on phone-hacking Labour leader Ed Miliband says “there are many things to put right, we have done one today.”

16.00: Business experts almost universally agree that the withdrawal of News Corporation‘s BSkyB takeover bid is a “delaying tactic” rather than an admission of defeat by Rupert Murdoch and News Corporation. There is “relief” among shareholders but rumours the takeover bid may resurface in six months to a year.

15.25: Mark Lewis, the solicitor for the family of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, says they are “delighted” David Cameron has announced a full judge-led inquiry into hacking.

14.50: Downing Street “welcomes” the announcement that News Corp is withdrawing its bid for BSkyB. The spokesperson adds that the company should now focus on “getting its own house in order”.

More from Channel 4 News: News Corp withdraws BSkyB bid

14.43: Ed Miliband says: “This is a victory for people who have been appalled by the phone hacking scandal and News International’s failure to take responsibility.” Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg tweets: “This is the decent and sensible thing to do.”

14.24: CONFIRMATION: News Corporation has withdrawn takeover bid for BSkyB.

Chase Carey, Deputy Chairman, President and Chief Operating Officer, News Corp, says in a statement: “We believed that the proposed acquisition of BSkyB by News Corporation would benefit both companies but it has become clear that it is too difficult to progress in this climate.

“News Corporation remains a committed long-term shareholder in BSkyB. We are proud of the success it has achieved and our contribution to it.”

14.15: Reports circulate that News Corporation has withdrawn takeover bid for BSkyB. Sky News, which is part of the Murdoch media in the UK, first runs it as “exclusive” information.

13.56: Reaction to the PM’s phone-hack statement concludes.

13.46: Cameron is grilled on press regulation and the end of so-called “self” regulation. He says: “What we’re looking for is something more independent to make sure that proper standards are followed.”

John Prescott tweets: So BSkyB bid over. PCC to be abolished. Senior News International staff arrested. Inquiry into police and press on its way. Yep. I'm happy

13.40: Cameron: The inquiry will make recommendations across all police forces and lessons will be learned.

13.26: Labour MP Jack Dromey asks David Cameron whether Rupert Murdoch is still a “fit and proper person” to run BSkyB. Cameron responds that being in Government is not just about saying, but doing, and adds “for fitness and properness, it’s a test for Ofcom.”

13.20: David Cameron says “we’re not all going to become monks in a monastery”, insisting that MPs must still have relationships with the media. It follows repeated criticism of his close relationship with the Murdoch press, in particular Rebekah Brooks, whom the PM has spent time with on several occasions in his Oxfordshire constituency.

Comment via Twitter - RAChatter: Is there something to be said abt public's consumption of news & do we need news values with stronger moral code?

13.05: MP Tom Watson, who has led the campaign to address the phone-hacking scandal, says “If these measures come about, then some good will have come of evil.”

12.55: John Whittingdale, chair of the Culture, Media and Sport select committee, says a “free press is a cornerstone of our society”. The PM agrees the media should stay “free & vigorous” even if it makes MPs’ lives “a misery”.

Murdoch's week

12.50: Cameron: The Dowlers [the family of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler whom Cameron is meeting this afternoon] want us to “bring this ugly chapter to a close”.

12.45: The Metropolitan Police are to appoint a senior public figure to advise them on how to interact with the media, says the PM.

12.42: David Cameron: Those who sanctioned wrongdoing should have no further role in running a media company in this country.

12.35: Cameron delivers his statement on the phone hacking inquiry – ahead of this afternoon’s Commons vote on the future of BSkyB.

D-Day for Murdoch’s BSkyB plan? Add your voice

12.30: It is revealed News International’s long-serving legal manager Tom Crone is to leave the company. Mr Crone was responsible for advising NoW and the Sun on editorial matters before and after publication.

12.03: Cameron tells MPs that a “firestorm” is engulfing parts of the media and police, and those who have committed offences must be prosecuted.

12.00: Prime Minister’s Questions kicks off. David Cameron sets out details of the independent inquiry into phone hacking (see below), it will have the power to summon newspaper proprietors, journalists, police and politicians to give evidence under oath and in public.

Click here: for all Channel 4 News coverage of the phone-hacking scandal

Phone hack inquiry details set out

• David Cameron has explained that a single inquiry will take place – replacing his previous proposal for two separate investigations.

• One part will look into the ethics and culture of the British media, the other will examine the specific claims about phone hacking at the News of the World. It will also examine the flawed police inquiry, and allegations of bribery payments to police by the press.

• Mr Cameron names Lord Justice Leveson as the chair of the inquiry.

• Mr Cameron also said he will ask Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell to look at whether the ministerial code should be changed to require ministers to record and publish details of their meetings with media proprietors, senior editors and executives.

• It emerged earlier that David Cameron will not be attending this afternoon’s House of Commons debate on News Corp’s BSkyB takeover bid but he intends to vote “if his diary allows”.

Add your voice via Twitter @channel4news using the hashtag #c4news. You can also talk to us at Facebook.com/Channel4News