Coffee House

Leveson report: what the judge said about Jeremy Hunt

29 November 2012

2:59 PM

29 November 2012

2:59 PM

Jeremy Hunt was one of the most controversial figures caught up in the Leveson Inquiry, with Labour calling for the then Culture Secretary to resign over contact between his office and NewsCorp lobbyist Fred Michel. But today Lord Justice Leveson’s report finds ‘no credible evidence of actual bias on the part of Mr Hunt’, but the exchanges between the lobbyist and Mr Hunt’s adviser Adam Smith gave rise to the perception of bias.

Leveson actually praises Hunt for the ‘robust systems’ that he put in place to ensure that Rupert Murdoch’s bid for BSkyB would be handled with impartiality, writing:

‘Mr Hunt immediately put in place robust systems to ensure that the remaining stages of the bid would be handles with fairness, impartiality and transparency, all in line with his quasi-judicial obligations. His extensive reliance on external advice, above and beyond the minimum required, was a wise and effective means of helping him to keep to the statutory test and to engender confidence that an objective decision would be taken.’


The only respect in which the bid was not ‘commendably handled’, finds the judge, was the relationship between Smith and Michel Leveson writes that he doubts ‘the wisdom of appointing Mr Smith to this role’.

This will be a relief for the Hunt, who told the Spectator in October that being hauled over the coals on his relationship with the Murdoch dynasty was like ‘being accused of a murder that you hadn’t committed’.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • HellforLeather

    erifect the

  • Paddy

    I hope Harriet Harman is going to give Jeremy Hunt an apology!

    • telemachus

      Why for Gods sake
      This man is smug and self satisfied and just because Leveson did not have enough evidence to nail him does not mean that his skulduggery was not beneficial to Murdoch
      Is this man a fit boss for the biggest employer in europe

  • dalai guevara

    Presumably, there is now no further room to manoeuvre for a chap who has been described as ‘giving a perception of bias’?

    • HellforLeather

      ‘No credible evidence of actual bias on the part of Mr Hunt’ – says Leveson,

      Would a court jury, in your view, be expected to rule on credible evidence, or alleged perception?

      • dalai guevara

        I fully follow your train of thought, but this is a damning verdict for Hunt (who has not been on trial in this instance).

        • HellforLeather

          You have sought to “damn” Hunt, in a paltry four lines of comment on this article.

          But you have not explained why, in your view, it is a “damning verdict” — perception counts as a damning verdict?

          You have also not attempted to explain or substantiate your opinion that “there is now no further room to manouvre” for Hunt.

          I look forward to you doing so.

          • dalai guevara

            I have pointed out that in this instance, JH was not on trial. This would lead some to conclude that in another instance, we might well intend to put some meat on those rather meagre bones. I am neither a judge, nor do I have full access to the detailed facts in this case. All we can see is a judge feeling inclined to comment on a member of the government in this way. How could he possibly say any more without kicking off what some twitterati would describe as a sh*tstorm?

            • HooksLaw

              You are talking cobblers. The ‘other instance’ you are suggesting exists only in your mind. Hunt was not on trial because he has not committed any offence.

            • H

              Let’s stick to your original argument, and ignore later red herrings.

              You have branded Leveson’s report as a “damning verdict” on Hunt, and said “there is now no further room to manoeuvre” for Hunt.

              Challenged, you say “I am neither a judge, nor do I have full access to the detailed facts in this case.”

              But, Leveson is a judge and has full access to the detailed facts.

              And, he said: ‘No credible evidence of actual bias on the part of Mr Hunt’

              Please explain, substantiate your earlier rant

            • The Crunge

              And yet you are happy to deliver a damning verdict on an individual of whom you know nothing. This indictment is based on nothing but your own prejudice. A prejudice which has, of course, no basis in fact and merely suits your view of a world where anybody who is not a socialist is by definition evil and corrupt. Why don’t you leave comment on these pages to sensible, literate people who try and take an objective view of complex issues.

              • dalai guevara

                Go on then, I am all ears. Leveson has spoken as directly as he could, it did not fall under his remit to pass judgement on JH, and he clarified that there and then. Nonetheless he felt inclined to single HIM out.

                What on earth has that balanced view got to do with you believing you are surrounded by…socialists?

          • The Crunge

            You are wasting your breath however sensible. He is a socialist and they do not do logic, honesty etc only smear and innuendo. Tom Watson for example.