Coffee House

Cameron sits tight on Hunt

28 April 2012

3:01 PM

28 April 2012

3:01 PM

Downing Street has indicated that it will not pre-empt the Leveson inquiry by investigating the Culture Secretary’s role in the News Corp takeover of BSkyB.
The government is keen to avoid calling a private inquiry that will, in the words of Tory deputy chairman Michael Fallon, ‘cut across’ the judicial inquiry. Hunt will appear under oath
next month to lay out all evidence pertaining to the takeover, including all emails and texts sent to his then special advisor, Adam Smith. A Downing Street spokesman said that the Prime Minister
‘will of course’ act if Hunt’s evidence suggests he was in breach of the ministerial code.

Downing Street has moved after the Leveson inquiry rebuffed its plans regarding Jeremy Hunt. But the fact
remains that Leveson will not be ruling on whether Mr Hunt breached the ministerial code. This afternoon’s intervention changes nothing in that respect.


Hunt’s defence, expressed in his Commons statement, is twofold. First,
Adam Smith was acting without Hunt’s knowledge and unintentionally overstepped the mark of what was appropriate. Second, that Hunt’s own decisions on the takeover, which are already public
knowledge, went against News Corp.

Against Hunt is the fact that the ministerial code clearly

‘The responsibility for the management and conduct of special advisers, including discipline, rests with the Minister who made the appointment.’

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Show comments
  • Airey Belvoir

    Hunt is obviously happy to hand over his written communications with his adviser, which won’t be very damaging. Irrelevant anyway, because clearly they were working together so closely day-to-day that it was all done verbally. The e-mail stuff is a red herring.

  • Tweety

    And right on cue. Someone comes along and mentions the Gaurdian.:-D

  • Frank P

    “Cameron sits tight on Hunt”

    Oh Dear Oh Dear. I’ll resist the temptation.

  • jordan ash

    As John Hodges says, does anyone really care about all this apart from the Guardian which, with page after page of this tedious drivel, is hell-bent on ensuring the few who still read it give up.

  • Tweety

    Why is it that whenever a Tory minister tangles themselves in sleaze the coffe house loyal blame it on the BBC or Labour?

  • John Hodges

    Does anyone in the real world care about hacking,Leverson. Hunt. No! Why are you all obsessed by it.

  • Ghengis

    Hunt,s complete support from our PM has shriveled

  • TomTom

    Ah Woody, we had an election and now it’s Cameron’s turn is it ? Well let’s have the FSA do a good job on this one – as a Voter I tire of Corruption in public life and I don’t think the Conservatives should get as bad as Labour…..but you clearly do.

  • Vulture

    Those who think that this will all be forgotten in a few weeks forget that Hackgate, like a slow-motion explosion, has been going – and growing – since 2006 when the first allegations against a single journalist, Clive Goodman, surfaced.

    IT has now reached critical mass and is likely to do for old Rupie and his filthy rags. Cameron was so clearly involved – up to his neck I’d say – that it could well bring him down too. The offering up of Hunt will merely be the hors d’oevres to a delicious meal that will see Dave served up steaming – with an apple in that hen’s arse mouth of his.

  • Fred

    Why not ask the team currently engaged in the Laws investigation to look at Hunt when they are finished. That will guarantee a 2016 completion date (or later)

  • pieinthesky

    Yes, I agree with Woody! (not Nick). All that is, except maybe for the last paragraph.

    But, how easily people do forget, not just the McBride affair, but so much more of the 13 shifty Labour years. Yet, journalists and commentators, are willing to keep the Labour Ball(s?) in the air, as it keeps them in a job, and the gullible public waiting and wanting more, of whatever the media spews out at them.

    The effect of all this is undermining stability in Government. There are many things we are better off not knowing. That may sound strange, but its a fact. Instead what we the ‘public’ would like, are accounts of the real affairs of Government, the actual facts of what is happening, so we can make the judgement and not the media. Commentating is one thing, but conjecture is another, totally. And I fear we have grown ‘high’ on conjecture, and those who churn it out are so addicted they cannot stop. And that applies to all newspapers and other media outlets, in the UK anyway. One is driven to watching other, foreign, news channels to get away from UK journalistic drivel!

    Would that this enquiry had never begun. Its costing millions (of whose money?) If only we as taxpayers had any power, we would surely stop it, but our ‘representatives’ don’t represent us, but themselves or cliques in their constituencies. The enquiry is supporting jumped up interrogators, and what for?

    Will we really be any wiser or better off after it? It may have been with the best of intentions, but really…………..

    It may sound like democracy, and bringing things into the open, but such action is not driven by ‘wisdom’, but by a misplaced desire for ‘knowledge’, and the two are not the same. One needs the first to know what to do with the second, and that is what we have not got, to the detriment of our nation, not least our young people, who need examples, rather than play actors.

    May it be that someone can awaken us out of our slumbers to what is happening before our eyes.

    The Spectator has my permission to pass my contact details, should anyone wish to pursue this discussion in a serious way. Otherwise it could be here……. thanks

  • Hugh

    Patience, is Hunt not up in Mid May. Only a couple of weeks away, and then he will be under oath. Cameron is right not to be bullied by the twitterati into interrupting the necessary business of Her Majesty’s Govt. until the facts are in the public domain. Think of the unnecessary cost as well.

  • Cakes and stuff

    Hunt is toast.

    On the plus side for Hunt I know of at least one vacancy for a well connected Brit in China.

  • Magnolia

    It’s easy to look back in retrospect and to see what should have been done but which wasn’t done. Once Vince the Cable got caught with the naughty mic’ then our Davey should have realised that this particular chore was toxic and dumped it on to a quango or outside body to s***w up. The rest of it all follows from the first error.
    Too many first errors leading to all the others, all over the place, and hence the ‘Omnishambles’.
    Time to go for a minority government with real Conservative policies in preparation for when all this irrelevant transparency/Emails stuff will be washed away in the sea of incompetences as the financial tsunami sweeps all.

  • strapworld

    Woody, I have not forgotten the promises the leader of the Conservative Party gave the electorate, prior to the election, on cleaning up politics.

    Humbug say I.

  • Holly ……

    ‘The responsibility for the management & conduct of special advisers, including discipline, rests with the minister who made the appointment’.

    The special adviser acted without hunt’s say so, and resigned. Now the ministerial code says, Hunt is also responsible for any discipline. It DOES NOT say that if a special advisor acts like a ignorant jerk, the bod who hired him has to resign, it says quite clearly that the ‘hirer’ is responsible for any discipline dished out to the offending special advisor.
    So,is it because Smith resigned, when it should have been Hunt who fired him that implies the ministerial code has been broken?
    If not the whole thing by Miliband & others is a red herring,wild goose chasing, bandwagon jumping, load of tosh.

  • Andrew Taylor

    Mountains and molehills.
    Interesting though. The BBC doesn’t seem remotely interested in the Euro going into meltdown – which will have far more effect on the UK citizenry. Doesn’t fit in with their editorial requirement to trash the Tories

  • MilkSnatcher

    Hunt can’t be given a Ministerial post in which any decision he may make could be subject to judicial review, as anything he does will be attacked by claimants wanting disclosure of all his correspondence, his bar bill etc. Best he toddles off now and comes back after the next election. After all, such a depth of talent in the Tory party….

  • jordan ash

    Why does the PM have to wait and see what a judge says before making his mind up how to deal with a Minister ?

  • Mudplugger

    Perhaps a phone call to Peter (Lord) Carrington may help Mr Hunt understand the responsibilities of a minister, even when able to demonstrate personal innocence.

    But then Carrington was the last minister to show such honour and integrity, such a long, long time ago now.

  • Woody

    How easily people forget the sleaze of the Brown years. Damien McBride caught in the act of unleashing a dirty online campaign against conservatives and their families.

    This didn’t happen in a smoke-filled room in Labour HQ, this was conducted in NO 10 under the nose of Gordon Brown.

    I’m sick to death of this ‘trial by media’ and I wish David Cameron would show some backbone and start getting angry and stop being Mr Nice Guy. No-one will remember him for being nice, but they will if he starts getting tough.

    That mean’s calling a GE and getting rid of those yellow saboteurs, who are only in government now for the sole purpose of bringing down the conservatives and eventually a pact with Labour.

  • strapworld

    Well, I am sure this will placate the people who smell a rat. Methinks it points to panic within number 10.

    I am sure those thousands of tory candidates in the forthcoming local elections will be so pleased by this stance from number 10. Watch for the backlash when they lost councillors and councils.