Jeremy Hunt pledges Government will be 'transparent' over special advisers


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The Government will be "at least as transparent" about the work of special advisers as the Labour administration, Jeremy Hunt said as he announced the appointment of a new aide.

Guy Levin, a former president of Oxford University Conservative Association, replaced Adam Smith, who resigned from his post working for the Culture Secretary after the extent of his contacts with News Corporation during the BSkyB takeover bid was revealed.

Mr Hunt told MPs: "I recently appointed Guy Levin as my new special adviser and he started this week."

At Commons question time Labour's John Mann (Bassetlaw) called for details of meetings between the Government's special advisers.

He told Mr Hunt: "Government special advisers are meeting together as a group on a fairly regular basis, doubtless to get their instructions from 10 Downing Street.

"Would you ensure that you receive a written report on those meetings and that the written reports are then made public so we can all see precisely what instructions 10 Downing Street is giving to your and other special advisers?"

The Culture Secretary, who yesterday survived a Labour attempt to force an investigation into whether he breached the ministerial code over his handling of the BSkyB bid, said: "We will be at least as transparent as the last government on these matters, if not more so."

He added that the appointment of Mr Levin would come at "no additional cost to the Government on top of the existing budget for special advisers".