Cable 'declared war' on Murdoch


Vince Cable was heard to say he has 'declared war' on Rupert Murdoch

Business Secretary Vince Cable has said he has “declared war” on the media tycoon Rupert Murdoch.

The BBC said it obtained an unpublished section of Mr Cable’s interview with two undercover reporters from The Daily Telegraph, describing how he was seeking to block Mr Murdoch’s bid to take a majority stake in BSkyB.

Mr Cable is heard saying: “I have declared war on Mr Murdoch, I think I’ll win. I didn’t politicise it because it is a legal situation.

“He is trying to take over BSkyB. He has a minority shareholding and he wants a majority – and majority control would give them a massive stake. I have blocked it using the powers that I have. For people who know what is happening, this is a big, big thing.”

According to the BBC, Mr Cable goes on to say: “His (Mr Murdoch’s) whole empire is now under attack. So there are things like that we do in government, that we can’t do… all we can do in opposition is protest.”

The disclosure of Mr Cable’s private views on Mr Murdoch will raise questions over whether he can properly carry out his statutory role as the final arbiter of whether the takeover of BSkyB should go ahead.

A spokesperson for Mr Murdoch’s News Corp said: “News Corp is shocked and dismayed by reports of Mr Cable’s comments. They raise serious questions about fairness and due process.”

Details of Mr Cable’s additional comments emerged after David Cameron and Nick Clegg used a joint No 10 press conference to play down his earlier remarks suggesting that he could quit the coalition if he was “pushed too far” by the Tories and claiming that the situation with the coalition was “like fighting a war”.

Asked about Mr Cable’s comments at the press briefing – which occurred before the comments about Mr Murdoch emerged – both Mr Clegg and Mr Cameron said he was “right to be embarrassed”, and they insisted any differences between the coalition parties are “thrashed out in private and then you come to a common solution”.

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