MEDIA
07/11/2011 07:33 am ET Updated Sep 10, 2011

Phone Hacking: Top Politicians Call For Murdoch To Drop BSkyB Bid, Sordid New Details Emerge

The scandal surrounding Rupert Murdoch's British media empire has not lessened, even after the paper at the center of the controversy was closed for good. On Monday, revelation after revelation exposed the vastness of the News of the World phone hacking operation, and put Murdoch's bid for a British television company in peril.

As Murdoch--who arrived in London in dramatic fashion on Sunday--huddled with son James and top executive Rebekah Brooks, Monday brought fresh attacks from all sides. Most notably the Deputy Prime Minister, Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg, called on News Corp. to "do the decent and sensible thing" and drop its bid for the full takeover of BSkyB, the lucrative satellite broadcaster. (Murdoch already owns 39 percent of the company.) Clegg's intervention makes him the most senior figure in government so far to explicitly oppose the deal, which looked set to sail through until the phone hacking scandal at the News of the World escalated last week.

Ed Miliband, the leader of the opposition Labour party, also ramped up his attacks on Murdoch. Speaking at a press conference, he called the BSkyB bid "untenable." Miliband is trying to force a vote on the takeover in the House of Commons.

Jeremy Hunt, the minister responsible for the handling of the bid, wrote to media regulator Ofcom to seek advice about the "fitness" of News Corp. to take over BSkyB--another sign that there are serious doubts within government about its viability. Subsequently, shares of BSkyB fell sharply.

In addition, new revelations about the criminal behavior inside the News of the World continued to be unearthed. Among the latest details:

--The BBC reported that emails written in 2007 show that the News Of The World was paying police guarding the royal family for information--but that nobody was alerted about this evidence of corruption. BBC reporter Robert Peston uncovered emails from then-royal reporter Clive Goodman (who was the first person to be jailed over phone hacking) to then-editor Andy Coulson (who went on to become Prime Minister David Cameron's top communications aide) asking for money to pay police officers for huge amounts of personal information about the royal family.

--The Guardian reported Monday morning that Prince Charles and his wife Camilla were recently warned by the police that their phones may have been hacked.

--The Daily Mirror also floated allegations that News of the World journalists tried to hack into the phones of victims of the 9/11 attacks. A source told the Mirror that a then-New York City police officer (now a private investigator) was approached and offered money if he would hack into the victims' voicemail. The officer reportedly declined the offer.

--The Independent reported that former Prime Minister Gordon Brown is to announce that he, like his predecessor Tony Blair, was a victim of phone hacking.

This story is developing. Check back for breaking details...