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What Vince Cable said about Rupert Murdoch and BSkyB

Robert Peston | 14:30 UK time, Tuesday, 21 December 2010

The Telegraph this morning chose not to publish the most explosive part of the remarks made by Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, to undercover reporters.

Vince Cable and Rupert Murdoch

Vince Cable and Rupert Murdoch

A whistleblower has passed me the full interview. Here are the excised comments by Mr Cable.

"I am picking my fights, some of which you may have seen, some of which you may haven't seen.

"And I don't know if you have been following what has been happening with the Murdoch press, where I have declared war on Mr Murdoch and I think we are going to win".

The conversation then turns to other matters for a few minutes. And then Mr Cable talks again about Rupert Murdoch and the £7.5bn takeover bid by his media conglomerate, News Corporation, for the 61% of British Sky Broadcasting which it doesn't already own.

What is important to know is that in respect of whether the takeover bid will be allowed, Mr Cable has a quasi-judicial role. It is he who will make the final decision on whether the takeover should be blocked or subject to strict conditions, because of its effect on so-called "plurality" or choice for consumers.

"Well I did not politicise it, because it is a legal question," Mr Cable says. "But he [Mr Murdoch] is trying to take over BSkyB - you probably know that."

The reporter says: "I know vaguely."

Cable: "With considerably enhanced..."

Reporter: "I always thought that he had BSkyB with Sky anyway?"

Cable: "No, he has minority shares and he wants a majority - and a majority control would give them a massive stake."

"I have blocked it using the powers that I have got and they are legal powers that I have got. I can't politicise it but from the people that know what is happening this is a big, big thing.

"His 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."

I have been passed a full copy of the interview by a whistleblower who is upset that the Telegraph chose to omit these remarks.

They are not included in a transcript that was published on the Telegraph's site this morning under the heading "the full transcript".

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The Telegraph has been a leading opponent of News Corporation's attempt to acquire the whole of BSkyB. In October, the Telegraph's chief executive, Murdoch MacLennan, signed a letter - along with senior executives of the BBC, Channel 4, the Daily Mail and Trinity Mirror - asking Mr Cable to consider blocking the takeover.

The disclosure of Mr Cable's private views on Mr Murdoch and the proposed takeover of BSkyB makes it extremely difficult for him to fulfil his role as the ultimate arbiter of whether the deal should proceed under the 2002 Enterprise Act.

News Corporation is bound to challenge his impartiality.

He is due to receive a report from Ofcom, the media regulator, on the impact on plurality of the bid by the end of the year. After that he has to decide whether to refer the deal to the Competition Commission.

If Mr Cable does ask for an investigation by the Competition Commission, it would ultimately be his decision whether the deal should be permitted, once he has received the advice of the Competition Commission.

Today the European Commission said it saw no competition grounds to block the takeover.

Update 1606: Here is the Telegraph’s official statement:

“The Daily Telegraph published some of the comments Vince Cable made to our undercover reporters today. We have made clear both in the paper today and in interviews that we will be publishing further comments in the forthcoming days.”

Now that statement is at odds with how the Telegraph described the transcript of Mr Cable’s remarks this morning, which it described as the “full transcript”.

 

Birch pub

 

What is more, the cuts from this morning’s transcript published online by the Telegraph does not indicate any passages have been removed. The normal convention of inserting dots to show an excision is not used.

The piece reads as though it is a seamless, unedited whole.

Now the whistleblower passed me the full recording of the interview having been told that Mr Cable’s remarks about Mr Murdoch’s attempt to acquire BSkyB were not going to run, at all.

You have to draw your own conclusions about why the Telegraph would choose not to publish those remarks (although following my publication of them, the Telegraph has now published them).

Some will notice that when it comes to opposition to Mr Murdoch’s proposed takeover of Sky, there is a convergence of the Telegraph’s views and Mr Cable’s views.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Vince Cable is right and MUST be supported for the sake of the continuance of a free(ish) media in the UK.

    Being pusillanimous about Rupert Murdoch's influence in the media is crass and mindbogglingly stupid. Have you seen FOX News. He must be stopped.

    By the way I heard some BBC type wanting to turn the BBC News Channel into an imitation of FOX - your audience will switch off! Bigoted one sided bilge is fine so long as you agree with it but the consequence is inevitably a boost for extremism of one side or another - and there is too much of that already. I recall with horror the BBC's attitude to the rabid right wing press in Croatia before the Balkan Wars - a one sided press and media inevitably leads to violent extremism - again just look at FOX in the USA!

  • Comment number 2.

    When you have been use to opposition (but not the premier league) it is not surprising that you tend to blabber uninhibitedly. In government careless talk costs SoSships so it will be entertaining to see if Mr Cable survives this one especially as Rupert will now release the hounds. This government is getting itself into a terrible mess and advice to Ed is make the most of it and dont worry about being 'responsible' on economic policy. The coalition is seriously wet behind the ears and they do not know what fuses of what IED's they have innocently lit.

  • Comment number 3.

    Oh the irony!

    A Coalition minister likely to be sacked for doing something right!

  • Comment number 4.

    Good for Vince - never mind the politics, what needs exposing, in business terms, is the 'Murdoch Con' or 'Only Sky Thinking' - that the man in the street can only get High Definition or first class programming from the Sky tin dish.

    There is HD on Freeview FOR FREE and more and more advertisers are realising that they pay a significant premium to be on Sky.

    And who is Murdoch conning most? The less privileged and less well informed who fall for his 'only on Sky' bull***t.

    The alternatives need to be better marketed and the general public educated as to 'value for money' in respect of Sky - 90% of what is watched on Sky at premium prices of £80-£100 a month is available FOR FREE.

  • Comment number 5.

    Rupert Murdoch - a cheerleader for war and low taxes for the rich.

    He was the biggest cheerleader for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with his Fox News network in the US and the Sun etc here.

    Now trying to make up for the thousands of deaths by sponsoring army award ceremonies etc - The Sun Military awards.

    Made Labour believe they could never raise income tax as he would kick them with the tax bombshell accusations. He was successful so they borrowed instead.

    Premier League us

    They have MPs running scared of critising them and the Police are in their pocket - Rebekah Wade admitted they paying policeman for stories. He already has one of his insiders at the heart of government in Andy Coulson.

    At least Vince Cable is elected - sadly money and media presence means more than democracy now.

  • Comment number 6.

    Surely I can't be alone in noticing that with the exception of David Laws, who resigned over payments to which he was not entitled, there has been a series of stories targeting Lib Dems who are (or appear to be) lukewarm towards the coalition.

    Mike Hancock has been hit twice over different allegations (neither proven), Bob Russell at least once, and now it's Vince Cable who's perceived to be the least right-wing Lib Dem in the cabinet.

    Anyone would think there was a conspiracy going on...

  • Comment number 7.

    Even in the USA companies cannot own entire satellite operators, news channels, radio news, books, newspapers and magazines together.

    Why would any UK government including the Conservatives allow it?

  • Comment number 8.

    The media have not caught up with coalition politics - this is a nothing story.
    Vince Cable - Lib Dem does not agree with Tories - well what a surprise, if he did he would have stood as a Tory you idiots. Stop trying to do things the old way and move on. Anyone seen what the government borrowed last month? Now that is a story......

  • Comment number 9.

    I'm afraid that the Business Secretary will have to go given new revelations about the Murdoch empire. He has compromised his position and business leaders will have no confidence in him or his decisions. It is not Professional to say the least even if there is merit in what he may want to do.

  • Comment number 10.

    There is also little competition in UK broadcasting anyway.

    If you want Sky HD you have to pay £10 extra a month but with Virgin HD it is free.

  • Comment number 11.

    If the Telegraph agree with Vc that Murdoch's takeover should be stopped why are they trying to unseat him from his cabinet post?

    The hand of Coulson is in this.....

  • Comment number 12.

    Ah, gawdbless Vince.

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    Wow! After 'Wikileaks', we've now got 'Teleleaks'.

    The Murdoch press are going to cream blue-murder over this - if Cable's role as Business Secretary is quasi-judicial, as you say, thne how can he possibly be seen as unbiased ofter this - however correct most of us think he is.

    I can't see Vince surviving this.

  • Comment number 16.

    I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that Vince has a political death wish or possibly that he has decided to leave the govt already but is trying to make them sack him.

    Whatever your views on Rupert Murdoch and BSkyB takeover the fact is that the secretary of state is suppose to act in an impartial way. Vince's comments clearly indicate he has pre-judged the position which disqualifies him from act as final judge of the takeover.

    Very very silly

  • Comment number 17.

    Cable is right. News Corp must be stopped, it has enough power in the UK (and global) media already.
    (By the way I'm not a 'leftie', I'm a conservative, before anybody says anything...)

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 19.

    Better late than never to wake up to what you are being used as,"a human shield", for the Tories, Nothing will happen because libdem turkeys will not vote to be culled by the electorate but it might suit Cameron to have them walk out and then take a chance on a quick election to enhance his majority before the voters wake up to the true disaster that is about to strike them. But didn't he say he favored fixed term parliaments but then like the rest of his ministers he can change his mind.

  • Comment number 20.

    Are you about to defect?

  • Comment number 21.

    You wonder if this was a sting by Murdoch...with this in the public domain, he's got a very good defence against any objections to his plans for world domination. I can't see what the whistle blower gets out of this being out there, other than to help Murdoch.

    Could be the end of Vince though. It doesn't bode well...

  • Comment number 22.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 23.

    OH, GREAT NEWS.........it's time we move Murdoch down a peg or two. This fair-weather friend of nobody is the epitome of indecent arrogance itself. He has no moral whatsoever, he's greedy and self-opinionated. Thumbs down to you cobber !!

  • Comment number 24.

    A senior politician in the cabinet expresses concerns about a determinedly right-wing media mogul trying to expand his control?

    Right on! That is what Vince was elected to do - his words may be injudicious but do we want a world influenced let alone controlled by one man's views?

    I thought that was what our fathers fought and died for in the mid-20th century - to prevent right wing megalomaniacs ruling our lives by their values whilst lining their pockets.........

    Robert, you need a sense of proportion and maturity - and a sense of history.

  • Comment number 25.

    It looks like The Telegraph and the BBC have shot themselves in the foot!! Mr Murdoch must be delighted at all of this!! I find it rather disturbing that journalists are now actively going out to create the news and will use any method to secure a story. I, like many others, share the concerns about the future of the media and who might seek to control it. This episode only allows The Empire to Strike Back.

    Daniel Kane

  • Comment number 26.

    After all the recent fees stuff perhaps Vince was dying to show he was doing something. Problem is, that may be the last thing he does. He should have saved it for the tell-all autobio. Bound to be marginalised now even if he isn't kicked out.

  • Comment number 27.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 28.

    #17. At 15:32pm on 21st Dec 2010, James wrote:
    "Cable is right. News Corp must be stopped, it has enough power in the UK (and global) media already.
    (By the way I'm not a 'leftie', I'm a conservative, before anybody says anything...)"
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Totally agree, Murdoch's empire is a corporate monster and must be stopped at all costs.
    (by the way I am a leftie)

  • Comment number 29.

    Cant help but thinking the BBC are ultimately scoring a huge own goal by breaking this... oh well the truth is the truth...

  • Comment number 30.

    Cable TV

    Nuttin but repeats


  • Comment number 31.

    An old man showing off to what sounds like a giggling, fawning school girl. Shades of Lord Triesman and another nasty bout of egoitis. Twenty quid says she wasn't bad looking.

    What a fool.

  • Comment number 32.

    I agree with Vince! Murdoch's empire needs stopping now.

  • Comment number 33.

    Anyone who is opposed to Murdoch and the likes is a friend of mine and does us all a favour.

  • Comment number 34.

    Well done Vince. About time the Liberal Democrats did something right.

    Don't resign, stick it to Murdoch and the Tories!!

  • Comment number 35.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 36.

    Peston's scoop may have just changed the face of British broadcasting forever.

  • Comment number 37.

    Poor old Vince he should not try and impress a girl wit a couple of USP's

    Mind you the timing was perfect what with Dave and Nick doing a round up 30 mins before with no apparent knowledge of what was going off. If they did not know that how can we have faith in them running the coutry.

  • Comment number 38.

    Forget Murdoch for a minute and focus on the bankers - if you're at all familiar with those ongoing discussions you'll know it's Vince that was pushing for a harder line (before, during and after the election). If this causes Vince to be forced out then the bankers get a better deal because the Tories have no interest in squeezing them. And what's the Telegraph's editorial position on Vince/bankers? Hugely critical of him, easy on their mates in the City. Job done!

  • Comment number 39.

    Good opportunity to bring back David Laws, perhaps?

  • Comment number 40.

    NSH

    '(by the way I am a leftie)'

    Never would have thought it. No not really the name is a give away, you lie on the left and flounder right eyed.

  • Comment number 41.

    I'm staggered that the BBC has chosen to publish this and am extremely disappointed in Robert Peston.

    That said I agree entirely with Vince Cable's views on Murdoch and his views on the banks and I would think that the vast majority of people would agree with him as well.

  • Comment number 42.

    Its interesting that the Telegraph decided not to publish this extract.

    No doubt they realise this will strengthen Murdoch's position.

    If the review comes out against him - he will say it was due to Cable prejudging it and appeal against the decision.

  • Comment number 43.

    21. At 15:36pm on 21st Dec 2010, *sglenister wrote:

    > Could be the end of Vince though. It doesn't bode well...

    Yes. It would be better to prop this government up for a little while longer yet. I bet on 6 months, a few weeks back. It's cracking up sooner than even I said.

  • Comment number 44.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 45.

    Let me get this straight: the Press can go around bugging Ministers indiscriminately and pay nothing.

    Isn't it time the two journalists went to jail, Brogan was fired and Coulson told he works for the british Government, not Rupert Murdoch?

    I'd ask Coulson if he bugs the Cabinet currently.....

  • Comment number 46.

    Am I being naive or is it very odd that Vince talked so openly and indiscreetly to two strangers? Either he is a fool (not likely), one or both of them was a gorgeous female (possible), or he really did know who they were and wanted his remarks to get into the media (i vote for this one...!). Either way he's probably gone tooo far, so bye bye Vincey, there's allways Strictly, so get into training early old chap.

  • Comment number 47.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 48.

    Move along there. Nothing to see. Just another performance of the Peston Follies. No surprise that he was given a Political Journalist of the Year award in 2009 - it was certainly more appropriate than one for business journalism.

  • Comment number 49.

    Finally, at last, long overdue and thank you Vince Cable!

    While Murdoch's, Andy Coulson as Britain's Prime Minister's 'Director of Communications' - DOC - is still eating at the heart of Downing Street - therefore, our country - perhaps?

    Furthermore, there is too much happening too soon in our economy. Who gave the Conservatives the right to slash and burn - not the electorate - that's for sure!

  • Comment number 50.

    Since when did having a negtive view on something mean you're not impartial? Any expansion of Rupert Murdock's already disproportionate influence on the UK would by opposed by most of the British electorate, and it's the British electorate to whom Mr Cable is accountable. Certain BBC journalists seem to have become too used to 'being the story'...

  • Comment number 51.

    Was this new transcript available to the BBC before the joint press conference from Downing Street held today ?
    If yes, why was this issue not raised by the BBC at the press conference ?

  • Comment number 52.

    Sorry but as correct as Cable is on certain things I can't help but think that he's just some cantankerous old fool. He is a member of the government, not some school headmaster, 'declaring war' and threatening to 'bring down the government' stinks of someone who's been bullied for a long time and now finds that he's grown a several inches and is now the biggest boy in the yard. Is there some conspiracy to bring him down, well I could well believe that there's interest out there to do an 'Eliot Spitzer' on him. The way he's conducted himself since coming to office, belligerently pursuing his agenda (as much as his policies are sound), he'll have had some input into his own downfall. Politicians should be diplomatic within reason, he's just being dogmatic.

    And oh, by the way, we the people should cast judgement on Rupert Murdoch, I have neither a Sky subscription nor do I buy any of his groups publications, I don't need Cable making consumer choices for me, so long as there is a viable alternative out there.

  • Comment number 53.

    Presumably ministers are advised never to accept drinks from strangers - apart from the alcohol itself there are all sorts of interesting additives to encourage indiscretions (plus the standard 'admiring attractive young thing', of course).
    I must admit I'm surprised by Mr Cable as he doesn't seem to have grasped the ways of the world he now moves in, despite some recent high profile examples.
    Perhaps the goverment should consider adding alcohol to the dangerous drugs list ?

  • Comment number 54.

    Just checked over on the Telegraph...

    "Vince Cable has “declared war” on Rupert Murdoch, the media tycoon, The Daily Telegraph can disclose."

    Oh I'm glad it feels it "can" disclose it for its readers now! What a bastion of principled journalism, eh? What commitment to openness and free speech...

  • Comment number 55.

    It is surely time for Vince Cable to be removed from office.

    He clearly doesn't represent the coalition. He doesn't even represent LibDem voters as we have seen over tuition fees.

  • Comment number 56.

    Vince Cable HAS powers as a Minister of the Crown.

    Watever his motives - and I am sure that many previous and current Ministers have had personal agendas that they have used when an opportunity arose - he is ENTITLED to have acted as he has.

    As to his QUASI-judicial role, it is NOT a judicial role (well, duh!) and so personal motivations can come into play.

    It is for the Prime Minister (possibly in discussion with the Deputy PM) to decide whether such as person is someone he wants to remain at the Cabinet table.

  • Comment number 57.

    Why didn't the Telegraph publish this explosive comment? Are they afraid of Murdoch too? And why are the Telegraph reporters giggling as Cable makes his remarks? Are they so thrilled with their scoop?


    Cable will have to resign now. He'll be gone by Christmas. This sham coalition is finished.

  • Comment number 58.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 59.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 60.

    News Corps influence over UK democracy and politics is a serious threat to that democracy. It is one powerful, rich man holding vastly disproportionate power over people who are supposed to represent the interests of everyone. This influence could be said to be an attack against our democracy.

    Anyone who wants to fight back against further growth of this attacking force (taking over BSkyB completely) deserves our support: a plurality of voices in the media is necessary. Murdoch has already got too much power with his media position as it is: politicians have said they are afraid of him and going against him and they have recieved 'incredible luck' in having a major investigation into illegal hacking offences not investigated thoroughly and dropped. Twice.

    The decision by the Telegraph not to publish this aspect of the transcripts is to be applauded. No doubt you felt in a vulnerable position if it was reported that you didn't publish the leak, Robert, but nevertheless, you have given succour to the 'enemy' - one that seems to wish to own vast power over the media and democracy in this country.

  • Comment number 61.

    And the point of publishing something that the Telegraph chose to ignore was...?

    The overwhelming majority of comments here support Mr Cable's view, so far as I can see. An alternative minister could replace him to consider the matter, but I know of no requirement for a minister to have no opinion on a topic before making a judgement. What is required is that they should have considered the evidence, and if Mr Murdoch has more evidence, he is entitled to put it.

    The huge majority of us will have a view one way or the other on News International owning Sky. That doesn't mean none of us could give a fair judgement. And keeping an opinion to yourself rather than saying it out loud doesn't make you any less or more biased.

  • Comment number 62.

    Pesto you should be ashamed!!!

  • Comment number 63.

    I find it hard to believe that VC is both so stupid and so naive to say this to 2 apparent lib dem constituents that he did not know.
    Are you quite sure Robert that the leak you are so stupidly spreading, is real, and not a doctored tape?
    Shame on you for spreading it, true or not, - do YOU WANT a Murdoch dominated media?

  • Comment number 64.

    I have to say that Vince Cable has gone up seriously in my estimation.

    I love the fact that he will fight for the coalition, but not blindly - he has his lines he will not cross (which the coalition will already know, but its nice that it is public.)

    And I love the fact that he feels he can lay out his stance with constituents - the people who he is meant to represent in Parliament.

    All in all, I think Cable's views will probably sit well with the public. If Cameron is clever, he will make a big deal out of this saying how such a man of principle and such a fighter is someone he will always want to keep on his team.

    Actually, by saying that he approves of Cables comments, it will help pull some of the more worries elements of the Lib Dems back on side.

    You could almost start a conspiracy theory at this point ...

    As for the Murdoch comments - it is high time that politicians of all parties distanced themselves from the man. Cable already has done so - I would suggest that Cameron does likewise. Pity he did not do so before the election. We do not need people like "Citizen" Murdoch telling us how to vote and run our country.

    Now, about the Telegraph's information gathering - despicable. The relationship between a member of the public and their MP is an important part of our democracy. How dare some sleazy journalist violate that.

  • Comment number 65.

    So in the future Vince goes, a tory says you can take over Sky BSB or whoever they are..... then in a few months later Vince is proved right by not being of a mind to allow the take over ( some story will occur as always and smear someone. Really if I could think of a good enough story I would write a book and no one would believe me) anyway my point is could the take over go backwards? Can anyone trust most of the press and TV coverage owned by 1 source? And has anyone examined the way the current clump of press covers it own "scoops"?
    Do I trust its news? Why should I when there is an agenda in the background?

  • Comment number 66.

    So foolish to speak out of turn like that. He may have a point - but he must resign I fear.

  • Comment number 67.

    #40. At 15:53pm on 21st Dec 2010, Not Buzz Windrip wrote:
    NSH

    '(by the way I am a leftie)'

    Never would have thought it. No not really the name is a give away, you lie on the left and flounder right eyed.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I actually quite like that, I can take a dig if it's funny.

    Good shot, Merry Christmas.

  • Comment number 68.

    Dave and Nick did not see the nuk coming when they did there press release at 2.30! bet their perception has changed now!

    Wonder who Murdock will back to run the country next year. The Condemns are in for a bit of a pasteing!!!!

  • Comment number 69.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 70.

    I am sorry, but regardless of the topic, if Cable is this indiscreet in discussion with people he does not even know, then clearly he is unfit for high office.

  • Comment number 71.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 72.

    witness2gr8ness wrote:

    And oh, by the way, we the people should cast judgement on Rupert Murdoch, I have neither a Sky subscription nor do I buy any of his groups publications, I don't need Cable making consumer choices for me, so long as there is a viable alternative out there.

    ####

    He is not making a consumer choice for you - he is commenting on the shareholding of the company. The product will still be there whoever owns the company. The question is whether or not Murdoch should own more than he does already.

  • Comment number 73.

    Well done Vince Cable. Finally you are saying it how it is? A national treasure during the election campaign - then disappeared.

    Bring it on Mr Cable about Murdoch. All politicans of ALL parties, who deny the over-powerful influence of Murdoch on British politics are feeble and disengenuous in their rebuttles.

  • Comment number 74.

    56 Michty Me:

    'Vince Cable HAS powers as a Minister of the Crown.'

    Sorry just checking, was that 'Crown' or 'Clown'.

  • Comment number 75.

    No irony at all about the BBC monopoly. If SKY attempted to fund their output the way the BBC uniquely funds its output then Murdoch would be in jail for extortion and kidnapping.

  • Comment number 76.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 77.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 78.

    If the stupid want to keep forcing money into Murdoch's pockets then so be it.

    Everyone else should be absolutely barracking the BBC for pandering to the unwashed who are Murdoch's natural supporters. The BBC should be better than that. That it currently isn't is nothing short of a disgrace.

  • Comment number 79.

    This isn't even news. Anyone who has had any history with the Liberal Democrats or has heard Vince Cable talking on the matter has known for YEARS that Murdoch was going to be a (highly legitimate) target if they got in government. And it's not just Vince's opinion - most of the party have the same view.

    Murdoch has far too much power and influence over politics and the public. News Corporation should be split up.

  • Comment number 80.

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  • Comment number 81.

    Taking an impartial judgement on something doesn't mean that you don't have personal feelings about it. We are all human: judges have feelings in emotive cases but can still carry out their duties to weigh evidence. I'm sticking with Vince.

  • Comment number 82.

    47.
    -------
    I also support the Coalition, if not everything they have done since May, and fully support Cable's comments (and do not think in of themselves they equal a lapse to the degree it is unbecoming in a minister) and agree the leaking of them helps Murdoch, unfortuntely.

    But the BBC are supposed to be impartial, and witholding the information as a means of advancing a position they probably agree with is not on, or so many would crow if they had withheld it and it subsequently came out -(it was leaked to Robert Preston, so why not others if he failed to report it). The Telegraph can get away with it as we expect that of our papers, but there you go, unlike Murdoch's holdings the BBC have a duty, even if it means shooting themselves in the foot.

    I would hope the ruling on the case could be given to someone else to avoid Murdoch's inevitable complaints if things did not go his way (and he is supremely hypocritical when he defends his interests) as others have suggested if that is really deemed necessary(that he has an opinion seems fair enough really), without jettisoning Cable, who is an important part of the government, whose comments that he has been fighting for his own party within said government in no way contradict committment to the coalition.

  • Comment number 83.

    First we have Mark Thompson saying "Britain needs a Fox news", now Peston delivers it on a plate. Has the BBC gone suicidal?!?

  • Comment number 84.

    Speaking of impartiality, we should be asking about the Telegraph's impartiality in all this. In fact, this story leaking shows just how much commercial interests are dominating our media and why no-one, not Murdoch in particular but no-one should have the level of ownership that Murdoch wants.

  • Comment number 85.

    "Undercover reporters"? Oh. I see. So what's the agenda here Robert? I suppose you can't comment too freely on that issue. Could be portrayed as some sort of self-interested meddling in politics. Unlike "Undercover reporters" eh?

    Now......let's see. In these sorts of cases, I usually work using "The Principle of the Main Beneficiary". So judging by the likely fallout from Vince Cable's comments, the main beneficiaries would be 1) Rupert Murdoch and News Corp, and running a close second, 2) disaffected Conservative Party reactionaries.

    So. Exactly who were these "Undercover reporters"? Do we have their names, political affiliations and conflict of interest statements?

  • Comment number 86.

    Of course Murdoch should be stopped. There is no debate. Cable is doing what leaders should do. Our free (ish) media depends on this.

  • Comment number 87.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 88.

    If Vince Cable resigns over this, Cameron will have him replaced by someone more Murdoch-friendly. The Tories owe Murdoch a favour and they'll be keen to see him rewarded. Murdoch is intent upon damaging the BBC and he'll be in far too powerful a position if he gets his way now. Vince, stay where you are and resist Murdoch's dark forces.

  • Comment number 89.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 90.

    Well done Vince Cable. It takes 'guts' to express any criticism of Rupert Murdoch and it is quite apparent that the BBC is looking to create problems for him and the coalition.
    When will the BBC News managers start acting in support of our country and not adopt the 'leftish' bias they always display over any news concerning our government.

  • Comment number 91.

    This is a completely inappropriate way for a member of the government to think or behave. Cable has not been hired to pursue a personal crusade, however much I might actually agree with his objectives. Public servants should be seen to act in a fair and impartial manner, whatever their own opinions might happen to be.

  • Comment number 92.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 93.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 94.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 95.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 96.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 97.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 98.

    Vince Cable.....a vain man...who does not care about the nations good, but wants to just show what HE can do..just as he fought against the nations intrest when it came to the immigration policy. Sould be excluded from the government,

  • Comment number 99.

    Yes, Go Vince!!!

    For me it seems that so many things that are wrong with our culture are being influenced by one organ or another of News International. Dumbing down of our culture in general, hundreds of utterly worthwhile channels with nothing on but American produced tat! The demise of the ITV network as a result of TV advertising being spread too thin, and 'The Sun', need I say more!

    Reading some of the comments above, it looks like I am not alone in this view!

    This Oligarch needs to be curbed.

  • Comment number 100.

    I'm deeply disappointed that the Telegraph has stooped to entrapment to get a story. Having journalists posing as constituents to try and get a good soundbite is an example from the worst of the gutter press. Had they been doing investigative journalism to uncover criminal activity then there might have been some justification for this approach. But all they were after was a careless phrase from a Minister to splash over their front page.

    So the Minister has used flambuoyant language with his constituents, this isn't surprising given the current climate and the concerns that the Lib Dems have about maintaining their own unique identity. There is no story here, nothing Mr Cable has said is at all at odds with his position within his party and within the coalition government. If he goes as a result of this reporting then it will be a victory for tacky journalism over good honest politics.

 

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