The transcripts of the official inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. More…

Yes. Oh, there was a lot of lobbying, counter-lobbying going on, self-evidently. Endless twists and turns throughout all of this. As I said earlier, there was an array of media interests who were aligned against the bid, quite legitimately made their views to us known on that, and then there was pretty vociferous lobbying, as we know from all the evidence, from News International.

At one point, I was -- it was brought to my attention by Norman Lamb, a friend and colleague of mine, a Liberal Democrat MP, that he had been -- the way he described it at least -- told that it would be good for the Liberal Democrats to be open to the bid, otherwise we would expect unfavourable treatment from the Murdoch press, and Norman was quite agitated about that.

I have to say, since we hadn't received particularly favourable treatment in the first place, I didn't think it was a hugely credible threat, and anyway it was part of so many rumours and counter-rumours and claims and counterclaims that I just said to him, "Look, we just must not be knocked off-course from allowing this process to proceed in an independent, objective and quasi-judicial manner."

And throughout all of this, I was very conscious that if I had any role at all, it was just to make sure that Vince Cable, as the relevant Secretary of State, was given the kind of time and the space to discharge his quasi-judicial functions and was insulated from political influence one way or the other.

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