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Hunt faces quiz over donations

Jeremy Hunt is facing a sleaze probe after failing to declare thousands of pounds in donations, it has been revealed.

The Culture Secretary attended three "networking" events before the 2010 general election that were funded by companies including advertising giant M&C Saatchi.

However, the details were not lodged with the Commons register of interests.

Mr Hunt's deputy Ed Vaizey stated in his register entry that they were both at eight separate events sponsored by private companies between July 2009 and March 2010.

The functions were to "enable the Conservative frontbench team (Ed Vaizey and Jeremy Hunt) to meet sector leaders from the arts and creative industries".

They included one hosted by BSkyB on 7 October 2009, which cost £3,800. At the time Mr Hunt and Mr Vaizey were shadowing the culture brief.

Aides to the Culture Secretary insisted Mr Vaizey had made a mistake in suggesting that both men had attended all eight events.

But Mr Hunt is planning to amend his register entry to show that he took a donation worth £1,473.81 from advertising agency DDB UK in 2009, another worth £1,435 from the Groucho Club, and a third from M&C Saatchi worth £4,563.50. The total value was £7472.31.

Labour MP Steve McCabe said parliamentary standards commissioner John Lyon should launch an investigation.

"No one would be asking these questions if Ed Vaizey hadn't made that declaration himself. These are areas where there is a potential conflict of interest," he told the Daily Mail. "Since there is clearly confusion in their own minds about who went to which events, this is just the sort of thing where the Commissioner should seek to establish the facts."


From Belfast Telegraph