MPs urge Ofcom to consider Fox misconduct probe in Sky takeover bid

Miliband: former Labour Party leader is among the MPs behind the letter
Miliband: former Labour Party leader is among the MPs behind the letter

MPs have called for 21st Century Fox's protracted Sky takeover to be referred to the competition watchdog after allegations of misconduct into a Fox News report about a murdered US political aide.

The group of high-profile MPs, led by former Labour leader Ed Miliband, have cited allegations that Fox colluded with the Trump administration on a story that contained fake quotes about murdered Democratic aide Seth Rich.

Fox News had innacurately claimed that Rich was the source of hacked emails published by WikiLeaks. It has since retracted the story. 

In a letter to Ofcom chief executive Sharon White and culture secretary Karen Bradley, the MPs call for Ofcom to reopen its investigation into whether the Murdochs are fit and proper owners of Sky. It also calls for Bradley to refer the deal to the Competition and Markets Authority on the grounds of broadcasting standards, The Guardian reported.

Signatories to the letter include Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable and former Conservative chancellor Ken Clarke. 

Ofcom confirmed it has received the letter and will respond shortly. 

Douglas Wigdor, a lawyer representing Fox News contributor Rod Wheeler, has also written to White over concerns of "Mr Mudoch’s media machine".  Wheeler alleged in a legal filing last week that quotes from him were fabricated in the Seth Rich story as part of a deliberate attempt to deflect public attention from a US investigation into Russian intereference in the 2016 presidential election.

Bradley has said she is "minded" to refer Sky’s £11.7bn bid for the 61% of Sky it does not own to the CMA over media plurality concerns that were raised by Ofcom. A separate report by Ofcom has cleared the Murdochs as "fit and proper" owners. 

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