British PM dines with Murdoch secretly
The UK’s opposition Labour Party has challenged Prime Minister David Cameron over dinning secretly with James Murdoch, the son of the media tycoon Rupert.
The Prime Minister has held a secret dinner with James Murdoch amid the government’s attempt to decide on the Murdoch media empire after a flurry of resignations and dismissals over telephone hacking at Murdoch’s News of the World and his bid to buy BskyB, the daily Independent reported.
The Labor Opposition questioned whether Cameron had broken the ministerial code of conduct by meeting the chairman of News Corporation in Europe and Asia.
Cameron’s secret meeting with James comes only a few days after the premier stripped Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat Business Secretary, of the power to decide whether News Corp should be allowed to buy the 61 percent of BSkyB it does not already own.
The government was also under an all-party pressure over its links with Rupert Murdoch despite last week’s resignation of Andy Coulson, the Downing Street director of communications, over the continuing controversy about telephone hacking at Murdoch’s News of the World, which cost Coulson his job as the paper’s editor in 2007.
Simon Hughes, the Liberal Democrats’ deputy leader, was expected to pursue legal action against News International over his phone being hacked rather than accept an out-of-court settlement.
He told the Commons last September that while he defended freedom of the press, “this [phone hacking] is abuse and illegality. It has to end, and we must be robust about it.”
The Independent revealed that Cameron met James Murdoch at the Oxfordshire home of Rebekah Brooks, the chief executive of News International. The private dinner she hosted took place shortly before Christmas.