Rosie Cooper MP

Working hard for the people of West Lancashire

MP Rosie's response to BSkyB concerns

I agree that the allegations about the behaviour at the "News of the World" are truly shocking.

This is an issue on which I have raised concern in the House of Commons in a question to the Home Secretary, Rt. Hon Theresa May MP, on the 6th September 2010, which is included below for your information.

Rosie Cooper (West Lancashire) (Lab): The Home Secretary referred earlier to the comments of Assistant Commissioner Yates on the Radio 4 programme this morning. The assistant commissioner also made it clear that the police have relationships with journalists, in this case from the News of the World. Can the Home Secretary tell me who polices that relationship and how we know whether there is any self-interest in the lack of progress on this matter? I appreciate that the Government will not want to get into that, but should the Independent Police Complaints Commission be asked to examine that relationship to ensure that nothing interferes with police matters and with justice being seen to be done?

Mrs May: The hon. Lady refers to a lack of progress on this matter, but the position is absolutely clear. The use of phone interception by a journalist at the News of the World was investigated, two individuals were prosecuted as a result of that investigation and the matter was looked at again in July 2009. The Metropolitan police looked very closely at the investigation in conjunction with the Crown Prosecution Service and counsel, and in July 2009 the previous Government examined the matter and decided that no further action should be taken. As regards a lack of progress today, the police have made it absolutely clear that if fresh evidence is available, they will look at it.

The Labour Party has called for a full judicial enquiry to begin as soon as possible. Unfortunately, we are not able to stop the BSkyB deal, only the Conservative-led Government can do that.  Ed Miliband has demanded that the bid be referred to the Competition Commission and has tabled a motion in the House of Commons for the bid to be delayed until the criminal investigation is completed. I will, of course, be supporting this. Labour MPs have also called on Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs to support this motion, which it appears they will do after the Prime Minister gave the motion his backing. I believe it is the right thing to do given the depth of public anger.

This week, Labour MPs have also tabled questions about both the extent of knowledge that Ministers had about the alleged actions at "The News of the World", as well as the proposed takeover of BSkyB.

I know that many people in their emails, which I have received, call on MPs to “be brave and stand up to Rupert Murdoch”. I agree with this sentiment, which is why I have supported the actions of my Labour colleagues in the House.

I have previously expressed my concerns, and my opposition, on this issue of the BSkyB deal.  Even before the revelations about News International and the News of the World emerged there were many serious concerns and unanswered questions about the deal.

As I have written to constituents in correspondence previously; in any civil society the diversity of the media is vital for its health.  We need to ensure that any decision on BSkyB is taken in the public interest.

I would also urge you to keep the pressure on in opposing the Conservative Government’s preference to allow the BSkyB deal to proceed.

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