BSkyB controversy: Prime Minister stands by Jeremy Hunt

Written on:June 1, 2023
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Jeremy Hunt gets the support of PM over texting controversy (Image courtesy: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport)

Prime Minister David Cameron is standing by Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt notwithstanding Labour’s consistent allegation that Hunt has broken the ministerial code and misled parliament.

Cameron decided not to order an investigation into Hunt’s handling of the News Corporation bid for BSkyB. Hunt therefore held onto his post.

A Downing Street spokesman said: “Jeremy Hunt’s evidence has shown that he acted properly while he was responsible for the BSkyB bid. He took independent advice at every turn, as well as a number of decisions which were against News Corporation’s wishes.”

Hunt told the inquiry that he had considered quitting following the wave of allegations about his handling of the takeover bid. He said, “I did think about my own position. But I had conducted the bid scrupulously fairly throughout every stage and I believed it was possible to demonstrate that and I decided it wasn’t appropriate for me to go.”

However, Hunt did accept that the texts he exchanged with James Murdoch while he was responsible for deciding on the BSkyB issue were, in hindsight, inappropriate.

Labour’s deputy leader and shadow culture secretary Harriet Harman claimed the issue was being “swept under the carpet”. She calls Cameron’s decision not to refer the matter to Sir Alex Allan, the Prime Minister’s adviser on the ministerial code, “disgraceful”.

She commented, “Jeremy Hunt should not be in his job now as he has broken the ministerial code and misled Parliament. At the very least, David Cameron should refer him to the independent adviser on ministerial interests. David Cameron said he would stand up for high standards but he is sweeping this matter under the carpet.”

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