19/Apr/2014 - Last News Update: 19:40

Leveson Inquiry: Cable viewed BSkyB bid with 'independent mind'

Category: Politics

Published: 30th May 2012 11:32:00

Business Secretary Vince Cable has told the Leveson Inquiry he kept "an independent mind" when assessing News Corporation's 2010 bid for BSkyB.

The Lib Dem MP's role passed to Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt after Mr Cable was recorded saying he had "declared war" on News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch.

Mr Hunt has himself come under fire as he had expressed support for the bid.

Mr Cable said "most people in public life have views... the requirement... is to set those on one side".

Mr Cable told two undercover reporters from The Daily Telegraph in December 2010 that he was seeking to block News Corp's attempt to buy the 61% of BSkyB shares it did not already own, by referring the bid to regulators Ofcom.

But questioned by inquiry counsel Robert Jay QC on the role of making quasi-judicial decisions, Mr Cable said: "With an independent mind doesn't mean with a blank mind."

He said his role was to "consider representations, the evidence, the facts and decide on that and only on that".

Mr Cable added that he had thought Mr Murdoch's newspapers had "disproportionate political influence" but that was not a factor in his decision to refer the News Corp bid.

"My views about this company were actually quite nuanced," he said.

"...some politicians got too close to them. But I never had a bad experience myself at the hands of News International newspapers."

Mr Cable said he did not wish to be "disrespectful" to News Corp executive James Murdoch by turning down the offer of a meeting, but gave it careful thought and decided that it was "not appropriate".

The company had the option to put its views in writing which it did, he added. He also received lobbying from other groups including the BBC, the TUC, media research firm Enders, the Guardian, BT and Capital Research Management.

The business secretary said he "did not think it appropriate" to have a discussion with Mr Hunt about the bid - because it was his role to make the decision - and was not aware of any attempt by the culture secretary to speak to him on the subject.

Mr Hunt is to give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry on Thursday.

Last week it emerged he had sent a memo to Prime Minister David Cameron indicating his support for the deal, prior to overseeing the bid, but also cautioning it would be "wrong for the government to get involved in such a competition issue".

The culture secretary insists that he oversaw the process "with scrupulous fairness" and has been backed by Mr Cameron and his department's most senior civil servant.

After Mr Cable, Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke will be giving evidence to the inquiry, which is currently looking at the relationship between press and politicians.

Source:
BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2012. Leveson Inquiry: Cable viewed BSkyB bid with 'independent mind' [Online] (Updated 30th May 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1431779/Leveson-Inquiry-Cable-viewed-BSkyB-bid-with-independent-mind [Accessed 19th Apr 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • Glamorgan's Jim Allenby deserves England chance - Michael Hogan

    Glamorgan's Michael Hogan says team-mate Jim Allenby is good enough to play for England.
  • NHS Care.data information scheme 'mishandled'

    The chair of the panel set up to advise the NHS and ministers on the governance of patient information has told the BBC the Care.data programme was mishandled.
  • HMRC 'plans to share tax data with private firms'

    Taxpayers' personal data could be shared with private firms under plans drawn up by Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
  • Scottish independence: STV quits CBI over referendum stance

    Broadcaster STV has become the latest company to leave the CBI after the employers' body formally backed the campaign against Scottish independence.
  • The Food Programme founder Derek Cooper dies aged 88

    Former BBC presenter Derek Cooper, who founded long-running radio show The Food Programme, has died aged 88.
  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com