Barbara Keeley

MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR WORSLEY AND ECCLES SOUTH

The takeover of Sky by 21st Century Fox

I oppose the proposed takeover of Sky by 21st Century Fox.

I am concerned about the takeover and I know from the large number of emails I have received on this issue that many people feel strongly about it. Indeed, over 300,000 people have signed the online petition against the takeover bid.

I welcome the fact that following pressure from both inside and outside of Parliament, the Government has decided to intervene in the deal on the grounds of media plurality and commitment to broadcasting standards. I am pleased that the bid has been referred to Ofcom on those public interest considerations, and also to the Competition and Markets Authority, and they are expected to report back by mid-May 2017.

Ofcom has a duty to be satisfied that broadcast licensees are fit and proper on an ongoing basis and so I am pleased that Ofcom will conduct a 'fit and proper' assessment at the same time it considers the public interest test for the merger.

However, I am concerned that Ofcom has only 40 days to conduct the assessment considering the number of issues it must investigate. I support my Labour colleagues in calling for an extension period for this assessment.

I also believe that some of the questions can only be answered by going ahead with part 2 of the Leveson inquiry, the findings from which would be crucial to assessing whether James and Rupert Murdoch should be allowed to obtain 100% control of Sky.

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