Jeremy Hunt to give evidence at Leveson inquiry
Earlier today Jeremy Hunt gave out his version of events to the Leveson Inquiry. He is now in a battle to try and save his career amid allegations that have cast doubt on his handling of the BSkyB takeover bid.
Hunt appeared before the Lord Justice Leveson today to defend his contact with the News Corporation and his involvement with the BSkyB bid. He unexpectedly managed to hang on to his place in the Cabinet after Prime Minster David Cameron decided not to order an investigation into whether he had breached the ministerial code of conduct.
David Cameron denied there is any evidence that Hunt had broken the ministerial code, saying: “What we have is a judge-led inquiry, witnesses required to give evidence under oath, full access to papers and records, cross-examination by barristers, all live on television.” Cameron told MPs on 30th April that “[t]here is nothing this tough or this rigorous that the civil service or the independent adviser could provide.”
“I will not wait until the end of the Leveson Inquiry to take action, if action is needed. If new evidence emerges from the Leveson Inquiry that the ministerial code has been broken, I will either seek the advice of Sir Alex Allan or take action directly.“
Hunt is expected to be questioned further over whether he backed the move prior to taking over responsibility from business secretary Vince Cable.
Hunt told the hearing he was “sympathetic but not supportive” of News Corporation’s £8 billion bid for BSkyB. He said it was widely known that he was sympathetic of the bid.
Vince Cable – who was stripped of his power to adjudicate the BSkyB bid in the early stages after he was secretly recorded by a Daily Telegraph journalist saying he had “declared war on Murdoch” last December – told the inquiry that Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation made “veiled threats” that if he didn’t approve the company’s BSkyB take-over his Liberal Democrat party would be “done over” by its newspaper.