British parties unite on call for Murdoch to drop BSkyB bid

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Britain's coalition government said it will back a parliamentary motion by the opposition on Wednesday urging Rupert Murdoch to drop his controversial bid for control of satellite broadcaster BSkyB.

The rare show of unity by Britain's three main political parties shows the depth of feeling against Murdoch's media empire following the phone hacking scandal at his News of the World tabloid, which shut down at the weekend.

"We are intending to support it," a spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron's Downing Street office said Tuesday, referring to the non-binding motion introduced by Ed Miliband, leader of the opposition Labour Party.

Asked whether the government believed that Murdoch should obey the motion, the spokesman said: "Ultimately, that is a decision for News Corp. but we would always expect people to take seriously what parliament has said."

The Liberal Democrats of Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, the junior partners in the year-old coalition, confirmed that they would also back it, Britain's Press Association newswire quoted sources as saying.

Miliband said: "I welcome news that the government says it will support our motion. It is now for Rupert Murdoch to recognise the strength of public feeling and the will of all the major parties."

The move comes a day after the government referred a bid by Murdoch's News Corporation for BSkyB to competition authorities after it withdrew concessions it had offered to push through the deal.

© 2011 AFP

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