Well, I think the bit that we haven't touched on, which I think is relevant to these considerations, is the way the phone hacking issue was developing, sort of in parallel to decisions about this bid.
I sort of think the phone hacking happened, as far as I was concerned, in three stages. The first stage was on 26 January, when Operation Weeting started, so we had a moment there where we were having a proper, full police investigation into these issues and there had been lots of discussion prior to that as to whether this had been investigated properly or not, and Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers was starting that very rigorous process.
So my perspective at this point is: this is a police matter.
Then, I think, on -- if I remember rightly, on 8 April, News International announced that phone hacking had gone much more widely than was suggested in the Clive Goodman case and that potentially thousands of people had been affected by it, and what I wanted to know at that stage was: should that impact on my consideration of media plurality?
We sought legal advice I think the same day, actually we didn't get it for about ten days, but we sought legal advice about whether phone hacking was relevant. The general advice we'd been getting was: just as I shouldn't allow policy issues to impinge on my decision-making on media plurality, so phone hacking shouldn't impinge on it either. This was an extraneous matter.
But the advice we got on 18 April did say that the one way that phone hacking could impinge was if they thought there was an issue of trust, so that accepting undertakings basically meant that you had to be confident that you could trust the people that you were doing a deal with over those undertakings.
So at that stage it was a matter about News International. It wasn't a matter that there was any evidence at all that it affected News Corporation executives that we were dealing with. We thought they had a problem with a company that was part of News Corporation group, but there was no evidence, and we didn't think we'd have any legally robust basis to suggest at that stage there was an issue of trust.
Then -- I'm sorry to be a bit lengthy, but I just think it's important to understand why I wrote the final letter that I wrote to Ofcom, because it is -- you know, I think it's an important indication of the way we approached the bid.
Then we had the horrific Milly Dowler revelations on 4 July, which I don't think anyone could not have been touched by, and then a couple of days later News Corporation announced that they were closing the News of the World.
That, for me, was a very, very significant moment because then I began to wonder whether there could be a management issue that spread beyond News International to News Corp, and even if it wasn't an issue of trust, even if I accepted that the people that we were negotiating the UILs with, we were doing so in good faith, I asked myself, if they found it necessary to close down a whole newspaper -- this is a big, big deal for a company like News Corporation -- is there a corporate governance issue here? Is this a company that actually doesn't have control of what's going on in its own company, even if the management don't know about what's happening?
So it was really that and, of course, the fact that there was a plurality issue with a big newspaper being closed down and the fact that Ofcom had been asked to investigate whether BSkyB was a fit and proper licence holder for a broadcasting licence, those came together. So a week after the Milly Dowler revelations I wrote to both Ofcom and the OFT to ask them whether they still stood by the advice they'd given me at the end of June that plurality considerations had been addressed by the UILs as they did then.