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PM to let Hunt keep job over BSkyB

Jeremy Hunt has held on to his place in the Cabinet after Prime Minister David Cameron decided not to order an investigation into whether he breached the ministerial code of conduct in his handling of the News Corporation bid for BSkyB.

After watching the Culture Secretary give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry, Mr Cameron judged that he had acted "properly" throughout the period when he was responsible for the bid, said Downing Street.

Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman said it was "frankly disgraceful" that Mr Hunt was not being referred to the PM's independent adviser on the code Sir Alex Allan.

Downing Street sources said the top civil servant at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, permanent secretary Jonathan Stephens, had made clear to Lord Justice Leveson that Mr Hunt had given himself very little room for political manoeuvre by referring the BSkyB bid to independent regulators.

In taking the regulators' advice throughout the process, he took a series of decisions which were contrary to News Corp's interests.

But Ms Harman said Mr Hunt was "clearly already biased" when he was handed quasi-judicial responsibility for overseeing the BSkyB bid in December 2010.

Mr Hunt had misled Parliament about his communications with News Corp and he did not obey the legal advice he was given about intervening, said Ms Harman. There was therefore "no doubt" he had broken the ministerial code.

She said: "He broke the ministerial code, he misled Parliament, and yet David Cameron is keeping him in his Cabinet. It's absolutely disgraceful. All of those things mean he should not be carrying on in his job."


From Belfast Telegraph