Hunt claims BSkyB bid 'vindication'

 

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt claimed today he had been vindicated over his handling of the BSkyB deal by the Leveson Inquiry.

The Tory also insisted there had been no need for him to fall on his sword when hundreds of texts and emails between his adviser and the Murdoch empire emerged because "taking responsibility" for wrongdoing did not mean having to quit.

Labour has repeatedly accused Mr Hunt of several breaches of the ministerial code - partly related to his then special adviser Adam Smith's over-close contacts with a News Corp lobbyist.

Mr Hunt told BBC Radio 4's The Media Show: "The ministerial code says you are responsible for the actions of your special adviser. It doesn't say you should resign if your special adviser does something wrong and I did take responsibility.

"I was very, very shocked by what I had seen."

He added: "I took responsibility by the very next day going to Parliament and answering questions, doing a statement and giving MPs the chance to ask me anything they wanted to ask me about what happened."

Asked if he believed he would survive a reshuffle, he insisted the inquiry had shown he acted properly, adding: "I love this brief."

Mr Hunt dismissed suggestions that emails and text messages uncovered by the inquiry into media ethics showed he was too close to the Murdoch empire.

"You can take any text message, or any email, or any reported conversation on its own or out of context and you can use it to paint a particular picture but I think what has been really impressive about the Leveson process," he said.

"I made no secret the fact that I was broadly sympathetic to the deal but what the Leveson process showed was when I took responsibility I put in place new processes that actually went way beyond what I had to do in law."

"The really central issue to this is was that bid conducted properly, impartially and I think what the Leveson process showed was that it was," he added.

"When you look at what actually happened, when I took repsonsibility for the bid I did change my view. I did look at the evidence that was supplied by Ofcom and the Office of Fair Trading. I decided that, this did need to be referred to the Competitions Commission."

The Culture Secretary said he had "very big ambitions" for radical change in media regulation.

Mr Hunt, who in opposition called for a "big bang" in the sector similar to the widespread deregulation of the City in the 1980s, insisted the Leveson Inquiry could provide that moment, though not in the way he had originally envisaged.

He added: "We need to hear what Lord Justice Leveson has to say, we need to look at the solutions (Press Complaints Commission chairman) Lord Hunt has put forward."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea