When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Hunt 'secretly backed BSkyB bid'
Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt secretly backed News Corporation's bid to take over BSkyB and leaked inside information to the media giant, the Leveson Inquiry has heard.
News Corp's director of public affairs, Frederic Michel, sent a series of emails to James Murdoch and other executives revealing Mr Hunt's thoughts about the progress of the controversial takeover plans.
In one message Mr Michel detailed what the Culture Secretary would say to Parliament the next day, noting that it was "absolutely illegal" for him to obtain the information.
Another email, dating from January last year, reported Mr Hunt's belief that it would be "game over" for opponents of the BSkyB takeover once plans to spin off Sky News into a separately listed company were publicly announced. "He said we would get there at the end, and he shared our objectives," Mr Michel noted.
The revelations led to a flurry of wagers that Mr Hunt would leave the Cabinet, and bookmakers William Hill, Ladbrokes and Paddy Power all suspended betting on him resigning.
Asked whether David Cameron still had full confidence in Mr Hunt, the Prime Minister's official spokesman told reporters at a regular Westminster briefing: "Yes."
The spokesman said that Mr Cameron and Mr Hunt were both present at Tuesday morning's Cabinet meeting, and he was not aware of them speaking to one another since the Culture Secretary's contacts with Mr Murdoch were raised at the Leveson Inquiry.
The spokesman added: "I am not going to be commenting on the Leveson Inquiry. It is a judicial inquiry and we have made clear throughout that we won't be providing a running commentary on it. That remains the case."
The spokesman said he was not aware whether Mr Hunt would be called to give evidence to the inquiry, but agreed it was a "reasonable assumption".Mr Cameron is also expected to be called, but no date has yet been fixed.
Deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman later called for Mr Hunt to resign, claiming his conduct had fallen "woefully short" of the standard expected of him.