PM refuses to deny discussing BSkyB bid with News International

Following the appearance before parliamentary committees of senior police officers and News Corporation staff, it was the turn of Prime Minister David Cameron to come under the scrutiny of the full House of Commons following a statement on the phone hacking scandal. In doing so, he refused to deny that he discussed the BSkyB bid with senior executives at News International since the election.

Pressed on the issue, Cameron would only say: “I have never had one inappropriate conversation.”

Cameron added his cabinet secretary had ruled “very clearly” that no ministerial code was broken in relation to the BSkyB merger and meetings with News International executives.

“The cabinet secretary has ruled very clearly that the code was not broken – not least because I had asked to be entirely excluded from the decision,” he told MPs.

He said he had taken himself out of any consideration of the BSkyB bid and, “unlike Labour”, he had set out all his contacts with News International in the interest of transparency.

Cameron also expressed regret at hiring Andy Coulson as his director of communications in light of the “furore” that has ensued in the phone hacking scandal.

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