It was announced today by Jeremy Hunt that he will hand over all BSkyB related correspondence between himself and special advisor Adam Smith to the Leveson Inquiry. Hunt assured the media that this would vindicate him however Labour and Lib Dem MPs are calling for an independent investigation to be conducted as they believe Hunt breached the ministerial code.
It was expected that Labour MPs would call for an investigation, with shadow culture Secretary Harriet Harman even writing to Jeremy Hunt urging him to submit all e-mails and texts to the Leveson Inquiry that related to BSkyB takeover bid. The joined voices of many coalition MPs that want Hunt to be investigated has come as a surprise. Although there are no big names it seems the back-benchers at least, are not happy to stay quiet over Hunt.
Private Secretary to Hunt, Adam Smith quit less than 24 hours after Hunt’s name was brought up in the Leveson Inquiry, admitting that he had perhaps been too close to the Murdoch’s during the takeover. Hunt, on the other hand, stood in the House of Commons during Prime Minister’s questions and assured the house that he had followed the correct procedures and took advice at every stage. This was backed by David Cameron at the time who has since admitted that the decision to subject Hunt to an investigation will be based on the results of the Leveson Inquiry.
Cameron did say that it was not this government that established the relationship between politicians and the media but it would be the one to put an end to it.
Ed Miliband has said: "Every day David Cameron looks more like a prime minister organising a cover up rather than standing up for the public. First he refuses to sack Jeremy Hunt despite the weight of evidence against him. Now, despite all-party calls to do so, he refuses even to ask the independent adviser on ministerial interests to examine whether Mr Hunt broke the ministerial code.”
As the final arbiter of the ministerial code it is Cameron’s decision whether or not Hunt has broken the code but many are saying that as he is responsible for his Private Secretaries he is to blame for any mistakes made by Adam Smith.
The lack of acknowledgment has led many Labour MPs to believe that Cameron is trying to brush over Hunt’s controversy in the hope that it will be forgotten as the Leveson Inquiry continues. If Labour MPs continue to be this determined however, that may not be easy to do.