Phone hacking: Prescott calls for BSkyB takeover delay

Rupert Murdoch’s takeover of BSkyB should be put on hold until police have completed their inquiry into the News of the World phone-hacking scandal, former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott told the House of Lords today.

Prescott, who is among a number of high-profile individuals who believe they were victims of phone-hacking, asked government spokesman Lord Wallace of Saltaire: “Is the government aware, in giving this decision on BSkyB, that it would be totally unacceptable for a company like this that is actively involved at all levels in criminal acts to be given control of BSkyB?

“Will they now delay the decision until all these investigations are completed?”

His call came after detectives bailed two senior journalists who were arrested in connection with the phone hacking inquiry yesterday.

Tory peer Lord Fowler called for a full independent inquiry into the tabloid hacking controversy, saying: “There has been a five-year delay in the investigation and the utter failure of any system to prevent any such wrongdoing.”

Lord Wallace said the goverment would be “prepared to commission” such an inquiry. He told peers: “I will take the strength of feeling in this house back to ministers. There are many aspects of concern.”

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