Danger looms for David Cameron as Commons set to vote on Jeremy Hunt

 

David Cameron launched an impassioned defence of Jeremy Hunt yesterday ahead of a parliamentary motion calling for the embattled Culture Secretary to be investigated for breaking the Ministerial Code.

Some senior Liberal Democrat MPs are expected to vote with Labour on Wednesday next week to recommend that Mr Hunt faces censure of his handling of News Corp's £8bn bid for BSkyB.

But Mr Cameron threw his full support behind Mr Hunt insisting the Culture Secretary acted "wisely and fairly" and had given "a good account of himself" at the Leveson Inquiry.

Mr Cameron is due to give evidence to the inquiry next week, and will face questions about why he handed Mr Hunt the job of deciding on the take-over when it was clear from private emails and texts that he was an enthusiastic backer of the bid.

Mr Cameron insisted he had acted entirely properly. "The advice I was given was that what mattered was not what Jeremy Hunt had said publicly or privately but how he was going to conduct himself during the bid," he told the BBC. "That's how I think we should judge him: did he adjudicate this bid wisely and fairly?

"And he did. He took legal advice at every stage, and he followed that legal advice and he did many things that were not in the interests of the Murdochs or BSkyB and that side of things."

Mr Cameron said he had "looked carefully" at pro-Murdoch public statements made by Mr Hunt and taken legal advice before transferring bid responsibility to him from Vince Cable.

Mr Cameron also said Mr Hunt was "the right person" to remain in charge of the London 2012 Olympics but side-stepped the question of whether he would remain in post after that.

Labour is to use its Opposition Day debate on 13 June to demand that an inquiry into Mr Hunt's actions is launched by Sir Alex Allan, the Prime Minister's adviser on the Ministerial Code. In a move that puts further pressure on Mr Cameron, the Liberal Democrats indicated that their MPs may be free to vote with Labour. "No decision has been taken about the Opposition Day motion," a spokesman said. "It is a matter for the Prime Minister to decide how to handle issues of discipline concerning Conservative ministers."

One Liberal Democrat MP, Adrian Sanders, said: "The public will accept the verdict from the person who is supposed to investigate these issues far more readily than it will the verdict of the Prime Minister. What is the point of having an adviser on the Ministerial Code if you never use him?"

In his interview on The Andrew Marr Show, Mr Cameron also defended his Government's handling of the economy after a string of U-turns announced over the last few days.

The Prime Minister said it took courage for an administration to admit it was "ploughing into the brick wall" and change course on high-profile policies. "Nobody thinks this Government lacks resolve, strength and grit.

"It has all of those things and it also has the courage to say 'Look, if we've got something wrong, let's change it."

He added: "There have been difficulties in the Budget and we've had to make some changes."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there