Hunt should have quit over BSkyB, says Lib Dem peer


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The Independent Online

A senior Liberal Democrat has said the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, should have resigned following his evidence to the Leveson inquiry about News Corp's failed takeover of BSkyB.

Lord Oakeshott, one of Vince Cable's closest colleagues when the Business Secretary was overseeing the ill-fated bid, said that Rupert Murdoch's empire was treated differently from other companies by the Government and criticised Mr Hunt's actions, saying "no self-respecting minister" would have stayed in his post.

The attack comes as the Chancellor, George Osborne, today gives evidence to the press standards inquiry at the beginning of a week of politically charged testimony.

Lord Oakeshott told Channel 4's Dispatches, to be aired tonight, that David Cameron's decision to keep former News of the World editor Andy Coulson as his press secretary after evidence began to emerge about the extent of phone hacking at the NOTW was "deeply flawed" and said Mr Hunt's position became untenable after the nature of contact between his office and News Corp during the BSkyB bid became clear.

"I got an increasingly creepy feeling as the lobbying went on on behalf of Mr Murdoch to get the BSkyB bid through," he said. "Mr Hunt should have resigned some time ago." Mr Hunt, pictured, who was effectively cleared of wrongdoing by Mr Cameron when the Prime Minister decided not to refer the Culture Secretary to his adviser on the Ministerial Code, faces a Parliamentary motion this week calling for him to be investigated for breach of the code. Some senior Liberal Democrat MPs are expected to vote with Labour.