I have been contacted by constituents recently about 21st Century Fox's proposed purchase of Sky.

As you are probably aware, Sky has stated that it received an approach from 21st Century Fox to acquire the 61 per cent share of Sky that it does not yet already own. The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has powers to intervene in certain media mergers on public interest grounds. These powers derive from legislation which also includes Government guidance on the operation of these public interest merger provisions.

Any transaction will be looked at on its merits, on a case-by-case basis. The guidance makes it clear that the Secretary of State will aim to take an initial decision on whether to intervene within ten working days of formal notification of the merger to the competition authorities, or of the transaction being brought to her attention. I understand from Ministers that no such formal notification has yet been received.

Whilst I appreciate the concerns that have been raised, the role of the Secretary of State is a quasi-judicial one, and it is important that she acts independently and is not subject to improper influence.