UK parties to unite to demand News Corp drops bid

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 12, 2011 11:59 AM
UK parties to unite to demand News Corp drops bid

LONDON, Jul (Reuters) - Britain's coalition government will vote in favor of a Labour opposition parliamentary motion calling on News Corp to withdraw its bid for pay TV operator BSkyB, a spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron said on Tuesday.

"The prime minister will support it and the government will support it," the spokesman told reporters.

The Liberal Democrats, the junior partners in the Conservative-led coalition government, will also vote in favor of the motion, according to a party source.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who is overseeing the decision on the takeover bid in a quasi-judicial role, will abstain from the vote on Wednesday.

The vote is non-binding but cross-party support for the motion would send a strong signal to News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch that he would be acting against the will of parliament if the bid was not withdrawn.

Shares in BSkyB fell on the news, to be down 3.3 percent after earlier trading down about 1 percent.

(Reporting by Matt Falloon and Mohammed Abbas; editing by Keith Weir)