London: A senior British minister had to
step aside from media policy issues after telling undercover
reporters he had "declared war" on media mogul Rupert Murdoch.
Business Secretary Vince Cable was taped by Daily
Telegraph journalists posing as constituents saying "I have
declared war on Mr Murdoch and I think we are going to win."
Murdoch`s News Corp owns several British newspapers
and has a 40 per cent stake in broadcaster BSkyB. Its bid to
buy the remaining shares in BSkyB was cleared yesterday by
European regulators, but is still under investigation by
regulators in Britain and is opposed by Murdoch`s many rivals.
Prime Minister Dave Cameron called Cable`s comments
"totally unacceptable and inappropriate," his office said. The
leader said Cable will play no further part in the decision
over News Corp`s takeover bid.
Cable`s comments were on a recording of the
conversation played by the BBC. They were not reported by the
Telegraph, which ran a story Tuesday about other remarks Cable
made to its reporters.
On the tape, Cable says Murdoch "is trying to take
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."
As business secretary, Cable was responsible for
deciding whether to refer the takeover bid to the Competition
Commission. News Corp said it was "shocked and dismayed" and
said Cable`s reported comments "raise serious question`s about
fairness and due process."