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Murdoch’s powergrab – write to your MP then share their response

November 4th, 2010 by

We’ve just heard some huge news. Our campaign to stop Rupert Murdoch’s powergrab to take control of BSkyB has worked. There’s a risk that the inquiry will be nothing but a rubber-stamp of Murdoch’s plans so over the last few hours thousands of 38 Degrees members have been writing to their MPs urging them to make sure the inquiry has real teeth.

If we all share our replies, we can build up a national picture of which MPs are backing Murdoch and which will stand up to him. Once you hear back from your MP share their reply by adding it to this form.

Update 1-Thanks to Steve for pointing out that there was a problem with the form. That’s now fixed so please enter your MPs responses to the form below and then they’ll display in the clever spreadsheet which you can see and search through below the form.

MP replies we’ve received so far:

Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts

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  • Stella

    Tessa Jowell's (form) reply to my email:

    “Thank you for your recent email in relation to News Corporation’s proposed takeover of BSkyB.

    I have received a large amount of correspondence from constituents concerned about this matter. In light of this I wrote to the Business Secretary, Rt. Hon. Vince Cable MP. I have attached below a link to the response I received last week.


    As you may or may not be aware, this morning there are media reports suggesting that the Business Secretary has indeed referred this matter to Ofcom for their assessment. It will then be for the Business Secretary to decide whether or not the matter should be referred to the Competition Commission depending on Ofcom’s report.

    I welcome this development and await confirmation of the decision in the House of Commons. Media pluralism is essential to our democracy and it is right that this issue be subject to proper scrutiny and that we stand up for the public interest. Labour’s 2002 Enterprise Act empowers the Secretary of State to intervene to protect the plurality of media ownership. It makes it clear that the Government has a duty to intervene if there is a possibility that a media change of ownership could contravene the public interest. This was why we decided to use these provisions in 2007 to intervene in BSkyB’s bid for 17.9% of ITV. Labour will continue to stand up for the public interest on this issue.

    With best wishes,

    Tessa Jowell MP

    Visit Tessa's website at http://www.tessajowell.net, follow her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TessaJowell or on Twitter @jowellt”

  • Pete Bresser

    This written (letter) response from my original email in October 2010 to Gareth Johnson, MP for Dartford, Kent:
    Thank you for contacting me regarding the takeover of BSkyB.

    I agree that media impartiality is an important issue however I am not convinced that blocking the BSkyB takeover would achieve this.

    I have passed on your concerns to the Department for Business Innovations and Skills and will provide you with a copy of the response that I receive.

    Yours sincerely

    Gareth Johnson

  • Path

    Anne Begg MP, Scottish Labour Party for Aberdeen South inform me that she supports an inquiry and is against any more power for Murdoch.

  • johnnychatterton

    Super! Could you add that to the form above. It means that we can quickly compile everyone's responses onto one spreadsheet. Then we can really easily see who is supporting Murdoch and who (like your MP) is willing to stand up to him.

  • johnnychatterton

    Thanks for sharing this Pete. Could you add this to the form above so we can see it on our “MP response” spreadsheet. We're going to be publishing that very soon so everyone can see which MPs are backing Murdoch and which are willing to stand up to him.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1618346576 Becca Rose Davis

    I've written to Julian Sturdy but I'm not holding out much hope on a reply. He has ignored all previous emails and from what I can tell the Tories only drafted him in to make up numbers – he hasn't got a clue!

  • http://twitter.com/Stefing Stefan Isendahl

    I wrote to my MP (Mike Freer, Conservative,Finchley and Golders Green) a few weeks ago, he disagreed and said that the election of a Tory minority government proves that the British people can think for themselves. Can you follow that logic?!

  • Jodibenfield

    I support an inquiry with teeth and will pass on your views to the minister.

    Best wishes,

    John McDonnell (MP for Hayes and Harlington)

  • John Faulkner

    Dear Mr Faulkner

    Many thanks for your email and I support the Secretary of State's decision to refer the BBkyB bid to the regulator, Ofcom. It will be important to establish what the potential move would do for media plurality in the UK and the regulator will report back before the end of the year. I'm glad that Vince Cable has considered the reaction of the media industry and the representations he received and has come to an appropriate decision.

    I will be passing on Woking constituents' support for this decision to the Business Secretary.

    With kind regards

    Yours sincerely,

    Jonathan Lord

    Jonathan Lord MP
    Member of Parliament for Woking

  • Stephen Tye

    Straight bat from Charlotte Leslie (Con. Bristol North West) – ''… I realise that you are concerned about the potential implications of such an arrangement and I do take those concerns on board.''
    Ms Leslie is a new MP so I wouldn't expect her to stick her neck out on this one.

  • Silurian

    Thank you for your message. As with all mergers and takeovers, I believe that such issues should be impartially determined in accordance with Competition Law. In view of the prospective size of the enlarged company, it is my understanding that in the event of an agreement being reached for News Corporation to acquire BSkyB, the issue will be considered by the Competition Directorate of the European Commission in Brussels. Currently the NewsCorp bid has been rejected by BSkyB. When I was a DTI Minister in the 1990s I served as UK Competition minister and required Mr Murdoch to make certain of his satellite channels available to his competitors. It has been suggested that my action may have been one of the factors that were instrumental in Mr Murdoch transferring the support of his newspapers to the Labour Party at every UK election between 1997 and 2009.

    Yours sincerely,

    Jonathan Evans MP

  • ceejay

    Thank you for your email. I too welcome the fact that the government has decided there should be an inquiry, and I agree with you that it should be comprehensive and examine all the implications of the proposed takeover.

    I will pass your message on to Dr Cable's office as you request.

    Mark Lazarowicz MP

  • Eerke Boiten

    Happy with the review and hope Murdoch detractors will accept its conclusions either way.

    (Murrison, MP for West Wiltshire)

  • Alan in Bristol

    Hi Johnny,
    Great Idea but I can't see the form ………..
    Can you make it visible somehow or post a web address that will take us to it.

  • Steve in Vauxhall, London

    Kate Hoey, Labour MP for Vauxhall (London) replied to my email confirming that she does support the investigation. Unfortunately, like “Alan in Bristol” below I can't see a form above to complete with this information. There is a large gap above where I assume the form should be?!

  • Margaret Mcgowan

    My MP (Richmond: Con) replied impressively quickly.
    Dear Margaret McGowan,

    Thanks for writing.

    As you know, on 4 November the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, issued an
    intervention notice on News Corporation¹s bid to acquire the BSkyB shares
    that it does not already own.

    It is my understanding that the intervention, under Section 67 of the
    Enterprise Act 2002, was made on the basis of the submissions and
    information that the Secretary of State has received regarding the

    The notice directs the independent experts at Ofcom to investigate the
    public interest consideration of media plurality that arises from the
    proposal. Ofcom is required to submit a report to the Business Secretary
    detailing its findings by 31 December 2010. Owing to the size of the
    proposed acquisition, the European Commission will also investigate it on
    the grounds of competition. It will announce its own decision by 8 December

    I do not want to preempt the findings, but like many people, I believe that
    consolidation of media power in too few hands is a threat to democracy.

    Best wishes,

    Zac Goldsmith

  • James

    Mike Freer, MP for Finchley and Golders Green replied the same day with:

    Thank you for the campaign email.
    In answer to Q1 – yes, Q2 yes again. I will forward your support to the Secretary of State.

  • Sara

    Ref Re: BSkyB takeover – do you support Vince Cable's decision?
    Response from Jonathan Edwards MP Carmarthen (Plaid Cwmru)


    Yes I do.


  • johnnychatterton

    Hi Steve, oh dear! Thanks for pointing this out. I'll look into the

    problem now but in the meantime you can enter the details on this

    page: https://spreadsheets0.google.com/a/38degrees.org.uk/viewform?hl=en_GB&formkey=dERZTnhURm1KQ1dEQ3VHOFZxUHRocWc6MQ#gid=0

    and they'll be added to the spreadsheet.

    Hopefully we'll get the problem sorted later on today!


  • Ng

    I wrote to Vince six weeks ago advocating the decision he has now made. Like you, I am delighted.


    MP for Bath

  • RichBatsford

    from Roger Godsiff MP:

    Thank you for your email in response to the decision by Vince Cable to refer News Corporation’s plan to take full control of BSkyB to Ofcom.

    I would much have preferred Vince Cable to use his powers to block Mr. Murdoch’s ambitions and he could have made this decision himself. The problem about referring this take-over to Ofcom is that they owe their existence, as do all other regulators, to Government dictact and if they produce a report which is not strongly against the take-over then this provides Vince Cable and the Coalition with the justification for not blocking the proposed take-over because he is not obliged to refer it to the Competition Commission.

    I do not want Mr. Murdoch’s News Corporation to take control of BSkyB and if Vince Cable and the Coalition were opposed to this take-over then powers exist to stop it without referring it to a body like Ofcom.

    Kind regards,

    roger godsiff sig

  • Kay Radford

    I've received this response from GRAHAM BRADY MP, regards Kay Radford

    Member for Altrincham & Sale West Constituency

    Ref: c/2147

    Mr Brady has asked me to thank you for your email. Mr Brady strongly supports proper application of competition law and will pass a copy of your email on to the Secretary of State.

    Best wishes.

    Mrs Lindsey Robinson


  • Nick

    No reply from my MP yet (Simon Hughes of Bermondsey and Old Southwark). Disappointed, but not surprised. never heard back from him before.

  • Katie Welford

    Got a reply from the brilliant Caroline Lucas:

    Dear Katie,

    Thank you for your email and for contacting me about this issue.

    I believe that we need to tighten the rules on cross-media ownership. Allowing individuals and companies to have too much influence undermines the operation of healthy informed democracy, not just in the UK, but across the EU and beyond. So I am deeply concerned about reports that Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation is planning to take full control of BSkyB and will certainly be writing to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills to express my opposition. Once I receive a response I will get back in touch and in the meantime do let me know if you need any further information.

    Best wishes,

  • Patrick and Chris Sellers

    We sent emails to our MP, Michael Fallon, and both received the same response, as follows:-

    Thank you for your email.

    I am not surprised that the bid has been referred but I am not allowed to comment on it as this is a quasi-judicial process and I share collective responsibility as deputy chairman of the party.

    Kind regards,

    Michael Fallon MP

  • Gareth Haslam

    Received a prompt response from Mark Durkan, MP for Foyle in Northern Ireland:

    Thank you for your note. I am pleased to confirm that I support Vince Cable's decision to refer the proposed Murdoch buy-out of BSkyB. With other MPs, I have lobbied for such an intervention and proper investigation for the reasons which you have identified. Concerns were expressed about Sky News coverage during the General Election period, including newspaper reviews and prominence given to the slanted headlines of the Murdoch press. The proposed complete take-over could profoundly exacerbate such serious concerns.

    Yours sincerely


  • Claire Michael

    I received an email reply within two hours from my MP Andrew Selous briefly saying “I do and I will”.

  • Nabil Shaban

    Reply from my MP, David Hamilton

    Thank you for your e-mail regarding News Corps purchase of the shares in BskyB that it does not currently own. As your e-mail says, the Business Secretary Vince Cable has referred this takeover to OFCOM.

    I am pleased Vince Cable MP has finally referred it as I wrote to him last month on behalf of a number of constituents urging him to refer the decision. I am therefore delighted that this decision has been made. I believe that this is where the political involvement in the deal should end. The independent regulator must be allowed to make its own decision, and I hope that all parties involved (including the Government) leave OFCOM to make its decision.

    I hope that you have found this helpful.

    Best wishes



  • Clananderson

    My MP, David Hamilton for Midlothian, responded in less than five minutes (yes, less than five minutes) as follows. “I am pleased Vince Cable MP has finally referred it as I wrote to him last month on behalf of a number of constituents urging him to refer the decision. I am therefore delighted that this decision has been made.”
    He said more too.

  • johnnychatterton

    Thanks for sharing Clan! We've added it to the MP reply spreadsheet (you can see it on the blog post above the comments http://blog.38degrees.org.uk/2010/11/04/murdochs-powergrab-write-to-your-mp-then-share-their-response/)

  • johnnychatterton

    Hi Nabil, thanks for sharing! I've added that to the spreadsheet (which you can see above the comments on the blog: http://blog.38degrees.org.uk/2010/11/04/murdochs-powergrab-write-to-your-mp-then-share-their-response/)

  • johnnychatterton

    Short and sweet! It's been added to the spreadsheet on the blog above the comments

  • johnnychatterton

    Encouraging! Thanks for sharing, I've added it to the spreadsheet above the comments.

  • johnnychatterton

    Hi Patrick and Chris, thanks for sharing this, that's a shame he won't reply. What do other people think about this? Are you planning to reply?

  • johnnychatterton

    That's a great and speedy reply! I've added it to the spreadsheet (above). Hope everything is well in Brighton!

  • johnnychatterton

    Oh dear, that's a shame he hasn't replied to anything. Has anyone else had experience of this sort of behavior from and MP? You could always try giving Simon's office a call – he lists a few numbers here: http://www.simonhughes.org.uk/contact/

  • johnnychatterton

    Super, thanks for sharing this Kay. I've added it to the spreadsheet above!

  • johnnychatterton

    Hi Rich, that's an interesting response, what do you think of it? I've added it to the spreadsheet above so you can compare it easily to what other MPs have said.

  • johnnychatterton

    That's a great response from Don Foster! It's been added to the spreadsheet above with all the other MP responses we've received.

  • johnnychatterton

    Short sweet and to the point – good to see he's supporting the decision to order a review of Murdoch's plans. Thanks for sharing!

  • johnnychatterton

    Thanks for sharing James, it's been added to our “MP replies spreadsheet” above.

  • johnnychatterton

    Thanks for sharing Margaret – it's been added to the spreadsheet above, what does everyone else think?

  • johnnychatterton

    Hi Steve, thanks again for pointing this out. The problem is now fixed and it's all working again. Sorry about the bug!

  • johnnychatterton

    Thanks for sharing Eerke, it's been added to the “MP replies spreadsheet” you can see above

  • johnnychatterton

    Thanks for sharing this Ceejay, it's been added to the spreadsheet of MP replies you can see above

  • johnnychatterton

    Interesting reply, what do others think? Thanks for sharing Silurian – it's been added to the spreadsheet above.

  • johnnychatterton

    Thanks for sharing Stephen, it's been added to the spreadsheet above.

  • johnnychatterton

    Hi John, thanks for this. It's been added to the spreadsheet of MP's replies above – what do you think or Mr Lord's response?

  • johnnychatterton

    Great to see such a fast (and positive) response. It's been added to the spreadsheet of other MP's responses above.

  • Kate Myall

    Kate Myall.
    My MP Barry Sheerman replied to say that he was passionate about this issue and would be supporting Vince Cable.

  • Disappointed

    My MP replied with this:

    “Thank you for your email which is identical to many others I have received. As a Government Minister I obviously support the referral but I would be interested to know the origin of this circular email campaign and what your own particular concerns are about this issue.


    Tim Loughton MP
    Member of Parliament for East Worthing & Shoreham and Minister for Children & Families”

    I strongly suspect this is a circular, as I had included my own paragraphs outlining my personal concerns about this issue!

  • Bill Finlay

    Looks like Tim Loughton is an MP who doesn't quite understand the concept of democracy!

  • Martin Franks

    My reply from Hugh Bayley (York Central)

    Thank-you for your email regarding Vince Cable's decision to have an inquiry about the BSkyB takeover proposal. I was pleased to hear the inquiry was to take place and have written to Mr. Cable to raise your concerns about the wider implications.

    A copy of my letter is enclosed for your information and I will contact you again when I receive his reply.

    Yours sincerely
    Hugh Bayley
    Labour MP for York Central

    Letter to Vince Cable

    Dear Vince

    Re: BSkyB

    I have been contacted by several of my constituents, regarding the inquiry into the BSkyB takeover proposal.

    My constituents are very supportive of your decision and ask that the inquiry includes the issue of the future effects on media plurality.

    I enclose copies of some of the correspondence for your information.I should be most grateful if you would respond to the issues that my constituents have raised.

    Yours sincerely
    Hugh Bayley MP

    I had some trouble posting this in the provided form, so I hope this will suffice.

  • Michael Howard

    Prompt response from John Spellar (Warley)

    “Thank you for contacting me regarding the proposed takeover of BskyB by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.

    My understanding of the current situation is that the European Commission will want to conduct an initial investigation into the deal on competition grounds as both parties operate across the European Union.

    In the UK the Business Secretary also has the option of referring the matter to either Ofcom or the Competition Commission to assess any potentially negative impact on the UK media market. In this context I think that the way Sky has used its position in football to push up the charges for pubs and clubs to extortionate levels should give cause for concern.

    In light of News Corporation's dominant position in the UK media I hope that Vince Cable uses all the powers available to him as Business Secretary to make sure that consumers are not ripped off and a healthy plurality of media outlets continues to exist.”

  • Disappointed not Surprised

    As usual a 'nothing' response from Robert Syms (Poole)
    “Hello, I am sure the inquiry will look at all the issues Robert Syms MP”

  • Disappointed not Surprised

    As usual a 'nothing' response from Robert Syms (Poole)
    “Hello, I am sure the inquiry will look at all the issues Robert Syms MP”

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LSFADX3UAWSRBF6AH32GEQBUGU keith

    Richard (Graham) of Gloucester writes that he does not want to preempt the conclusion of the enquiry and therefore I am bound to interpret as he will be waiting to see what his leader tells him to do. Why did I bother? I knew what his response would be.

    Keith Lambe

  • Predictable

    Still no reply from my MP Tony Lloyd. Can't say I'm particularly surprised.

  • http://twitter.com/settingsun3 Timothy Leitch

    David Burrowes MP for Enfield, Southgate has replied to me personally twice now about BskyB takeover. So I'm impressed. Even hand wrote my name and signed it.