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Hunt’s in real trouble

24 April 2012

4:23 PM

24 April 2012

4:23 PM

If anyone doubted just how dramatic the Murdochs’ evidence to Leveson
was going to be, then the five hours of testimony today have settled that argument. In the process, they have also turned Jeremy Hunt into the political equivalent of damaged goods. It is now hard
to see how he can be Secretary of State when the Olympics open let alone Tory leader one day.

The emails that have just been released show just how deep a hole Hunt is in. He and his special adviser
seem to have been rather reckless in their interactions with Murdoch and his representatives, they have certainly opened themselves up to criticism. It should be noted, though, that the accuracy of
Michel’s emails may well be challenged by Hunt when he appears before Leveson. But if it is accurate that Hunt called James Murdoch on his mobile after being advised by civil servants not to
meet him, then it is hard to see how he can carry on.

However much David Cameron might want to keep Hunt — and he won’t want to set a precedent of Leveson claiming political scalps — holding onto him in the face of a media, Labour,
and possibly Lib Dem, onslaught will be politically costly.

When ministers are in trouble, I’m always struck by whether or not Tory MPs ring up unprompted to defend their embattled colleague. Today, I haven’t had a single call in defence of

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