Labour Party Seeks to Limit News Corp.'s Power in U.K. (Report)

2012-29 REP Rupert Murdoch P

$224 million: That's what the Rupert Murdoch conglomerate spent during its fiscal year ending June 30, with the bulk of the money going toward legal fees, say insiders.

Deputy party leader Harriet Harman pushes for tighter media ownership rules, which would target what she called "the invincibility" of Rupert Murdoch's conglomerate.

LONDON - The British Labour Party's deputy leader has called on politicians of all political parties to work together to limit the Murdoch family's News Corp. media empire in the U.K. on the eve of a keynote speech from Elisabeth Murdoch at the Edinburgh International Television festival, according to the Guardian.

The daughter of News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch is set to appear late on Thursday in the annual James MacTaggart lecture at the industry gathering.

Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman said that "the age of deference to the Murdochs is over." She added that she wanted to make an "open offer" to the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats to hold talks on setting tighter limits for media ownership once Lord Justice Leveson's report on press standards is published.

She said there was a historic opportunity for politicians to legislate, and it was time "to deal with the issue of the invincibility of the Murdoch media empire", reaching cross-party agreement in a way that she said should be about "nobody gaining political advantage."

It would be appropriate for politicians "to listen respectfully" to the address from Elisabeth Murdoch, but that "the context had changed entirely" from when her brother James Murdoch gave the same lecture three years ago. "This is the second time in three years we have heard from the same family," Harman said.

Labour has already indicated that it believes Murdoch's News Corp. – which owns the Sun and the Times here and a 39 percent stake in Sky – has too much media influence. Party leader Ed Miliband told the Leveson inquiry that he believed that one company should not own the Sun and Times, which account for 37 percent of newspaper sales in the U.K.