Adam Smith’s Leveson ordeal is now over. The testimony
we’ve heard from Smith and Fred Michel has left Hunt’s position weaker in one key regard. The crucial allegation is that he misled Parliament when he said that he had not tried to
influence the quasi-judicial decision on News Corp’s bid for BSkyB when it was Vince Cable’s responsibility. It is hard to see how this squares with Hunt’s memo to David Cameron
in November 2010 warning of the consequences for the media sector of the bid being blocked.
Labour is also attacking on the grounds that Hunt should never have been given responsibility for making this quasi-judicial decision given the views expressed in the memo. But I think Hunt is on
safe ground here. For the decision to give him the responsibility for the bid was made not by him, but by Cameron.
I suspect that Downing Street will stick to its line that Hunt must be given a chance to defend himself at Leveson. But he is going to have to have a very good answer to the question of why his
memo to Cameron does not count as trying to influence Cable’s decision.