Jeremy Hunt. Now what does that rhyme with?

Jeremy Hunt was appointed as a Privy Counsellor on 13 May 2010. Whilst, I don’t know what a privy counsellor is, this certainly stinks.

It’s been revealed by the BBC that Ofcom thinks there are big problems with Murdoch’s BSkyB power grab. Their report to Jeremy Hunt- Tory MP for South West Surrey and Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport- says the Competition Commission needs to be involved.

 The argument is over Murdoch’s News Corp’s attempt to buy the 60.9% of BSkyB shares it currently doesn’t own.  In the report that Jeremy Hunt is keeping secret, Ofcom argues that it may be against the public interest because it would reduce “diversity and quality in the UK media below an acceptable level”. Ofcom recommends that the move is referred to a full Competition Commission enquiry.

 But Jeremy Hunt is sitting on the report and refusing to make it public. Instead, he’s been locked in secret meetings with Murdoch’s representatives. It looks like he could be trying to cook up a way of giving Murdoch’s power grab the green light. These meetings were not minuted and didn’t have any civil servants present.

Things could move very quickly – if Jeremy Hunt thinks he can get away with it, he could give Rupert Murdoch the go-ahead in the next couple of days. This is highly dodgy behaviour. We, the public need access to Ofcom’s report and we need to speak up in favour of the independent inquiry which Ofcom says is necessary.

If we don’t want a fat cat monopoly on the media, we need to make a fuss. The more public awareness there is for this issue, the less room Jeremy Hunt has to stitch anything up. We need to flood our MPs with messages telling them to speak out against the secrecy. Jeremy Hunt needs to be hearing from MPs and the media that he has to follow Ofcom’s recommendation.

Please click here to send an urgent e-mail to your MP. Demand an end to the secret meetings and for Jeremy Hunt to conform to Ofcom’s wishes.
http://www.38degrees.org.uk/hunts-secret-meetings

The BBC’s Robert Peston sums up the suspicious behaviour of Jeremy Hunt: “What I don’t understand is why Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary, has not simply published the report and announced that there will be a further Competition Commission enquiry. Why is he only showing the report to Murdoch’s lobbying team? There’s a real risk he’s working with them to find a way round the Ofcom report”.

Ofcom’s recommendation to refer the BSkyB deal to the Competition Commission was a response to pressure from the 38 Degrees group. Now it seems Jeremy Hunt is trying to dodge the report. We need to let Jeremy Hunt know we won’t stand for yet another conspiracy with Rupert Murdoch. 

Jeremy Hunt was appointed as a Privy Counsellor on 13 May 2010. Whilst, I don’t know what a privy counsellor is, this certainly stinks.

Now it happens that Jeremy Hunt was only given the power to rule on media mergers on 20th December 2010. Business Secretary Vince Cable was stripped of those responsibilities after he told undercover Daily Telegraph reporters he had “declared war” on Rupert Murdoch.

Labour MP Tom Watson has written to the cabinet secretary, Sir Gus O’Donnell, accusing the culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, of being “knee deep in News Corp”. In the letter, the MP for West Bromwich East accused the government of misleading parliament by failing to disclose the meetings which were held on 28th June and 21st July. Watson said he had been told in replies to written parliamentary questions that no formal meetings had taken place between Hunt and News Corp executives.

Watson also highlighted other meetings, including one on 21st July between the culture secretary and Jeremy Darroch, the chief executive of BSkyB, which was also unminuted. Watson said Hunt should not be handed the power to rule on News Corp’s bid, and demanded to know if the Cabinet Secretary knew about these meetings when he took legal advice before authorising the transfer of powers from Vince Cable to Jeremy Hunt.

The Voice Of Anti-Capitalism – You read it here first (unless you read the papers)

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