Leveson Inquiry: Murdoch too powerful - Ed Miliband
Published: 12th Jun 2012 20:49:20
Labour leader Ed Miliband has told the Leveson Inquiry that Rupert Murdoch's dominance of the British media fuelled his empire's "arrogance".
He said News International had "a sense of power without responsibility" because of its 37% share of the newspaper market and its BSkyB stake.
Mr Miliband said his aim was "not to stifle one particular organisation or another - my aim is plurality".
He said he had been "too slow" to speak out on the phone hacking issue.
The Labour leader said he met Mr Murdoch at a News Corporation summer party in June 2011, but said they spoke only about US politics.
"I believe I should have raised the issue of phone hacking. I didn't," he told the inquiry.
Mr Miliband earlier said he believed there had been a collective failure over phone hacking.
"There is clearly something that has gone very wrong in the way parts of the press deal with individuals who don't seek celebrity and I hope that can put right by some of the recommendations of this inquiry," he said.
"It's right to acknowledge that a failure to get to grips with these issues earlier is a collective failure of the establishment. The press, the police, who didn't investigate properly, and the politicians who were aware of what was going on but didn't speak out."
He went on: "At its worst there is a mutual culture of contempt - from the press who think politicians aren't straight with them and who behave badly, and the politicians who think they are not going to get a fair hearing."
He said politicians often seek closeness with the media because they think it is a way of getting a "good hearing".
We (Labour) didn't speak out on these issues when there was increasing evidence of News International's behaviour”
"Organisations like News International had huge power and I think politicians were reticent to speak about some of these practices that were exposed. I include myself in that. There came a moment when I found it impossible not to speak out. I knew at that moment I was crossing a rubicon," he said.
News International held 37% of the market until the closure of the News of the World but still retains a 34% share, the inquiry was told.
"At the very starting point of this, I don't believe that one person should continue to control 37% - or now 34% post the Sun on Sunday - of the newspaper market. My strong instinct is that is too much," said Mr Miliband.
Mr Miliband had 15 contacts with News International from September 2010 to July 2011 - when the phone hacking revelations mounted - but only one after that, the inquiry heard.
He said Labour had been too close to News International. "What I mean by too close is that we didn't speak out on these issues when there was increasing evidence of News International's behaviour," he said.
He called for a public inquiry into phone hacking in July 2011, but said he had been "too slow to speak out".
"I knew at that moment that I was crossing a rubicon because this would be seen by NI as pretty much an act of war. I think in retrospect I would prefer if I had said more earlier," he said.
Mr Miliband said he believed some form of statutory regulation of the press was needed.
He said any new regulatory system should be "independent", "comprehensive" and "accessible" and offer "fast-track justice or redress for individuals".
The inquiry is currently focusing on the relationship between the press and politicians.
After former prime minister Gordon Brown told the inquiry on Monday he did not instruct his aides to use the media to brief against ministers, Mr Miliband was asked if he was aware of off-the-record briefings against Tony Blair and other government ministers by Ed Balls, Charlie Whelan or Damian McBride.
Mr Miliband - who was at the time known as a "Brownite" or Brown supporter - told the hearing he had not in relation to Mr Balls, but Mr Whelan had left the government in 1999 in part "because of his style of operation", which included such briefings.
On the question of Mr McBride, he said, he had warned Gordon Brown himself about the aide.
"On Damian McBride, when I was a Cabinet minister, I did raise a specific concern that I had with Mr Brown, I believe in September 2008, about some of Mr McBride's activities," he said.
Earlier, Sir John Major told the inquiry Gordon Brown's closest allies had spread lies about him "on a number of occasions", leaving him so furious he had written to then Cabinet Secretary Gus O'Donnell about it.
The first time was in 2005 when he returned from a trip overseas to headlines claiming he, along with former Chancellor Norman Lamont, had blocked the release of papers relating to Black Wednesday.
That was "utterly untrue" and the pair were both "very angry", Sir John said.
The second occasion followed stories suggesting Sir John had made representations calling for Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's knighthood not to be withdrawn.
Sir John also told the inquiry that Rupert Murdoch warned him to switch policy on Europe or his newspapers would not support him.
Sir John, who was prime minister from 1990 until the 1997, recalled the exchange from a private meeting in 1997, which he said he had not spoken about before.
At 14:04:51 in Northern IrelandA private island in Lough Erne, County Fermanagh, has been put up for sale.
At 14:03:32 in SportWarwick racecourse is to abandon Flat racing and stage just National Hunt action from 2015.
At 13:55:44 in SportNorthern Ireland's Katie Kirk is through to the Commonwealth Games 800m semi-finals after an impressive run in Wednesday's heats at Hampden Park.
At 13:54:51 in SportDai Greene says he is unlikely to compete in the European Championships after failing to defend his Commonwealth Games 400m hurdles crown.
At 13:53:40 in SportReport to follow at end of match.
At 13:51:00 in EnglandA man has been charged with attempted murder after the shooting of two men in Oldham.
At 13:46:09 in EnglandA 12-year-old cyclist has died after a collision with a vehicle in a Leicestershire village, police said.
At 13:45:22 in EnglandA former policeman is to be charged with murdering a man who was shot dead after a car was stopped by officers in north London nine years ago.
At 13:43:14 in HeadlinesAn additional £3m in UK aid is to be made available to help the humanitarian situation in Gaza, Prime Minister David Cameron has announced.
At 13:43:10 in BusinessThe US economy grew at an annual rate of 4% during the April to June period, latest figures released by the US Department of Commerce have shown.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Leveson Inquiry: Murdoch too powerful - Ed Miliband [Online] (Updated 12th Jun 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1434207/Leveson-Inquiry-Murdoch-too-powerful-Ed-Miliband [Accessed 30th Jul 2014]
News In Other Categories
Lessons need to be learned from the case of a man who killed his wife and two-year-old son at their Gwynedd home, an official review has found.
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
Rolf Harris's sex offences sentence will not be referred to the Court of Appeal, despite 150 complaints over its "leniency", the attorney general's office has said.
The streaming video service Netflix has agreed to pay US telecoms giant AT&T to ensure its content is delivered to users smoothly.
Warwick racecourse is to abandon Flat racing and stage just National Hunt action from 2015.
The UK will pay an economic price for imposing sanctions on Russia, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has said.