Jeremy Hunt aide Adam Smith quits over News Corp link
A special adviser to Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt resigned today, admitting his contact with News Corporation over the BSkyB takeover "went too far".
Adam Smith said his relations with News Corporation lobbyist Frederic Michel had given the impression there was "too close a relationship".
In a statement, he insisted the "content and extent" of his contact with Mr Michel had not been authorised by Mr Hunt, who is himself facing calls to quit.
"I do not recognise all of what Fred Michel said, but nonetheless I appreciate that my activities at times went too far and have, taken together, created the perception that News Corporation had too close a relationship with the department, contrary to the clear requirements set out by Jeremy Hunt and the permanent secretary that this needed to be a fair and scrupulous process," Mr Smith said.
"Whilst I firmly believe that the process was in fact conducted scrupulously fairly, as a result of my activities it is only right for me to step down as special adviser to Jeremy Hunt."
David Cameron's official spokesman said the Prime Minister agreed with Mr Smith's decision to resign, but declined to comment on his behaviour in his role as special adviser.
Asked about Mr Smith's resignation at a regular Westminster media briefing, the spokesman told reporters: "He has set out his position, he has offered his resignation, that resignation has been accepted.
"That reflects that individual's judgment on the seriousness of this particular case.
"The Prime Minister agrees with the decision that he has made."
Mr Smith's role has come under intense scrutiny following yesterday's release of more than 160 pages of emails by Mr Michel in which he details his dealings with Mr Hunt's office over the BSkyB bid.
Mr Michel said regular emails to James Murdoch referring to "Jeremy", "JH", or "Hunt" were actually "shorthand" for conversations with Mr Smith and that he rarely actually spoke directly to the Culture Secretary.
The News Corporation lobbyist appears to have been given feedback throughout the process on Mr Hunt's feelings towards the takeover and the likelihood of it being approved.
Mr Smith, a policy adviser with a low profile at Westminster until yesterday's disclosures at the Leveson Inquiry, said it was his job to "keep News Corporation informed throughout the BSkyB bid process".
But he stressed that the "content and extent of my contact was done without authorisation from the Secretary of State".
Have shock jocks gone too far after Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a slut?
Former Google exec says he has 100,000 emails showing how 'immoral' company avoids paying UK tax
Notes from a small island: Is Sealand an independent 'micronation' or an illegal fortress?
British man faces court after confessing to slitting two children's throats in Lyon flat
'Swivel-gate': David Cameron goes to war with the press over 'swivel-eyed loons' slur
- 1 Asteroid nine times the size of the QE2 liner to sail pass Earth
- 2 Notes from a small island: Is Sealand an independent 'micronation' or an illegal fortress?
- 3 British business: We need to stay in the EU - or risk losing up to £92bn a year
- 4 You thought Ryanair's attendants had it bad? Wait 'til you hear about their pilots
- 5 It’s official: thanks to Stephen Hawking's Israel boycott, anti-Semitism is no more
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.
Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: This is a senior appointment with huge potent...
£28000 - £31500 per annum + benefits: Randstad Education Newcastle: Permanent ...
£50000 - £58000 per annum + Benefits and Bonus: Progressive Recruitment: SAP F...
£30000 - £40000 per annum + BENS: Progressive Recruitment: Drupal Developer A ...