Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox tells Karen Bradley not to delay competition inquiry into its takeover of Sky

 
Rebecca Smith
Bradley is expected to announce a final decision before parliament rises for summer recess
Bradley is expected to announce a final decision before parliament rises for summer recess (Source: Getty)

Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox has encouraged culture secretary Karen Bradley not to bow to "political pressure" and drag her heels on the full competition inquiry into its bid for Sky.

The comments are made in a letter sent by Fox's lawyers Allen & Overy yesterday and released to the media, after political opponents to the deal urged Bradley to look again at her verdict on broadcasting standards.

In the letter, the lawyers state the case should be dealt with "expeditiously and fairly".

Read more: Murdoch's 21st Century Fox takeover of Sky looks set for full investigation

Bradley announced last month that she was "minded to" refer the £11.7bn deal, to acquire the 61 per cent of the broadcaster Fox does not already own, to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) over concerns about diversity in the UK's media sector.

She is expected to make an announcement about the next steps on Thursday before parliament rises for recess.

But a group of MPs, including former Labour leader Ed Miliband and Liberal Democrat leadership candidate Vince Cable, have been calling for Bradley to change her mind, saying an Ofcom report on the proposed merger made a "fundamental failure".

The group of MPs said in a letter that the regulator hadn't thoroughly considered allegations of sexual harassment at Fox News and the phone hacking scandal at the News of The World, as part of a review into whether a Fox-Sky tie-up will be committed to meeting broadcasting standards.

But yesterday's Fox letter said the MPs letter presented "no new, let alone substantial, evidence" in relation to broadcasting standards, which was what Bradley had called for when inviting responses before a final decision was announced on the CMA referral.

The letter added:

Bowing to the political pressure of the Miliband letter would constitute the most blatant form of political interference, and would critically undermine the integrity of the quasi-judicial nature of the secretary of state's role in this process.

Read more: Murdoch's pursuit of Sky: How did we get here?

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