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UK minister survives vote on Murdoch ties,coalition divided

British lawmakers granted a reprieve to the embattled culture minister

Written by Associated Press | London | Published: June 14, 2012 12:30:42 am

British lawmakers granted a reprieve on Wednesday to the embattled culture minister,ruling that he should not be investigated over allegations that he favoured the bid by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. to take control of a satellite broadcaster.

However,the vote split the two parties in Britain’s coalition government,with the Conservatives backing Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt and the junior Liberal Democrat party abstaining on the opposition-sponsored vote in the House of Commons.

The motion calling for Hunt to be investigated for a breach of the Ministerial Code was defeated 290-252.

In a pointed rebuke to the Conservatives,Deputy Prime Nick Clegg,leader of the Liberal Democrats,had asked his lawmakers to abstain on whether Hunt should be investigated by a standard watchdog over News Corp.’s effort to take full control of BSkyB. Murdoch’s media empire already holds a 39 percent stake in the lucrative broadcaster.

Hunt’s adviser stepped down after messages he had sent to a News Corp. lobbyist were made public at a UK inquiry into media ethics. The opposition Labour Party claims than Hunt,too,secretly aided News Corp.’s bid – a claim that both Hunt and Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron deny.

Cameron told lawmakers on Wednesday that the Conservatives and Labour had both had close relationships with Murdoch’s media over the years,but Liberal Democrats had kept their distance. He said their decision to abstain “is to make that point”.

Brooks,husband get bail

Rebekah Brooks,the former top executive of News International and a close aide of Rupert Murdoch,and her husband were bailed on Wednesday,along with four other persons charged with perverting the course of justice in connection with the phone hacking scandal.

PTI

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