Ahead of the midday closure of the consultation into the undertakings given by News Corp in its proposed takeover of BSkyB, culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has said he will take as long as is needed to reach a decision.

A statement by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said the secretary of state would consider carefully all the responses submitted and take advice from Ofcom and the Office of Fair Trading before reaching his decision. “Given the volume of responses, we anticipate that this will take some time. He will consider all relevant factors including whether the announcement regarding the News of the World’s closure has any impact on the question of media plurality”.

The number of responses to the consultation have risen significant following allegations that News of the World journalists had listened in on phone messages intended for members of the public. They are said to have included the family of murdered teenager Milly Dowler and relatives of servicemen killed in Iraq.

In a press conference to announce two inquiries into the scandal prime minister David Cameron said Mr Hunt was following “the proper legal processes and procedures”.

News Corp said its priority was to continue to co-operate with the “existing regulatory process”.