David Cameron denies BSkyB deal with Rupert Murdoch

Monday 30 April 2012 13.18
David Cameron said he courted many media outlets
David Cameron said he courted many media outlets

British Prime Minister David Cameron has insisted there was no deal struck between him and Rupert Murdoch in the media magnate's bid to takeover BSkyB.

In an interview with the BBC's Andrew Marr, Mr Cameron said he would launch an inquiry into the actions of the Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, if there is evidence that he breached the ministerial code.

However, he acknowledged that email contact between Mr Hunt's special adviser and a lobbyist with News Corporation was wrong.

"As things stand, I don't believe Jeremy Hunt broke the ministerial code," Mr Cameron said.

The prime minister said it was not "true" that any agreement had been reached with Rupert or James Murdoch in return for their political support of the British government.

He admitted that he courted Murdoch newspapers in opposition, but said it was "no great mystery" as he had tried to win over many media outlets.

"The thing that people are asking is was there some big deal, some big agreement between me and Rupert Murdoch or James Murdoch that in return for support for the Conservative Party I would somehow help their business interests or allow this merger to go through," he said.

"That is not true. Rupert Murdoch said it under oath at the Leveson Inquiry, James Murdoch said it under oath, I will say it under oath.

"I did want the support of as many newspapers and television commentators for the Conservative Party because I wanted to take the country in a different direction.

"When it comes to the Murdoch newspapers, I was trying to convince a set of newspapers with largely centre-right, conservative views anyway, that they would be better off with the Conservative Party running the country.

"There is no great mystery here - that is what I was trying to do."

Meanwhile, former Scottish first minister Jack McConnell said he was taking legal action over allegations of phone-hacking by the News of the World.

Mr McConnell said police had told him he was among the potential victims of the scandal.

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