With the News of the World newspaper's phone hacking scandal still fresh in the public's mind, British government lawyers have reportedly begun planning ways to block Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB bid.
The lawyers activities were revealed in a report from the Independent. The news came just after opposition Labour part leader Ed Miliband promised that he would try to force Parliament to vote on the BSkyB take-over this week, should acting Prime Minister David Cameron fail to take measures to stop the take-over bid.
The bid would see the Murdoch owned News Corp bid $14 billion for the remaining 61 per cent of BSkyB it doesn't currently own.
If taken to vote Reuters analysts have speculated the end of the new Liberal Democrat, Conservative coalition. Citing the Lib Dem's hostile relationship with many of Murdoch's news outlets, which have tended to portray the party in a less than favourable light.
The calls to halt the bid come just after a slew of phone hacking allegations against the now discontinued News of the Wold newspaper. The News Corp owned paper was accused of hacking into the phones of numerous individuals including celebrities, politicians and murder victims.
The case came to a head when the paper was accused of hacking the phone of murdered school girl Milly Dowler.
The scandal lead to a public backlash against both the paper and News Corp. In response Murdoch personally discontinued the paper -- choosing to keep the head of News Corp's British newspaper division, Rebekah Brooks.
Though Downing Street has declined on the future of the BSkyB bid, the Independent has quoted a senior government source as revealing to it that, "We [the government] are working on a plan to suspend the deal while the police investigation is taking place."
The News of the World's phone hacking activities were first reported in 2007 by the, also Murdoch owned, Sunday Times. The paper reported that its own internal investigation had discovered News of the World staff paying police for information to aid them in the hacks.
In its report the Independent indicated that the government had hoped that the U.K. broadcasting regulator Ofcom would block the BSkyB takeover on the grounds that News Corp directors were not "fit and proper" to run the company.
The alternative strategy, would see lawyers from the department of Culture work to block the deal using the country's competition criteria laws.
The news comes just after PM David Cameron finally joined the cacophony of voices calling for Brooks to step down. A public enquiry has already been ordered.