Pressure is mounting on Rupert Murdoch as David Cameron joined demands for the media mogul to drop his BSkyB takeover bid in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal.
The Prime Minister will make a statement to MPs after the Tories and Liberal Democrats dramatically signalled they would support Labour leader Ed Miliband’s parliamentary motion calling for the plan to be abandoned.
Cameron, Nick Clegg and Miliband were also said to be in “close to agreement” on the nature of an inquiry into hacking allegations, following “positive” talks.
As well as his political counterparts, the premier met Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson on Tuesday night, receiving “assurances about the independence” of current investigations.
The discussion in Downing Street capped a humiliating day for Scotland Yard which saw some of its most senior officers berated by MPs for botching previous probes.
The Home Affairs Select Committee mocked former Met assistant commissioner Andy Hayman for being “like Clouseau rather than Columbo”.
And incumbent Assistant Commissioner John Yates was told his evidence was “unconvincing” after he said he had always been truthful and blamed the News of the World for “failing to co-operate” with police until the start of this year.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers, who is leading the new phone hacking inquiry, conceded there was an “awful lot to do” after revealing police had compiled a list of more than 12,000 names and numbers. Evidence from News International detailed 3,870 names along with 5,000 landline numbers and 4,000 mobiles, she told the committee.
The Commons Culture Select Committee has asked Mr Murdoch, his son James and embattled News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks to give evidence to their separate inquiry. However, while the company has said it will “co-operate” with the MPs, it has stopped short of confirming that any of the trio will attend.
News Corporation unveiled a five billion US dollar share buyback in an effort to reassure markets after Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt indicated he would be referring the crucial bid for full ownership of BSkyB to the Competition Commission.