Nearly half think Jeremy Hunt should quit says poll

 

Nearly half of the population believe embattled Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt should resign, a poll has indicated.

The research found just 16% of voters think the Secretary of State should remain in post while 49% want him to quit over his links with Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.

The ComRes poll for ITV News at Ten also found three out of five voters want an independent probe into whether Mr Hunt was involved in the passing of information to News Corp during its bid for BSkyB.

It comes after David Cameron again rejected Labour demands for an inquiry when he was forced to answer an urgent question on the row in the House of Commons.

Labour leader Ed Miliband told MPs that Mr Cameron was “defending the indefensible”, after the exposure by the Leveson Inquiry of emails which showed that a News Corp lobbyist was passed advance information about a sensitive parliamentary statement by Mr Hunt's special adviser Adam Smith.

Mr Smith quit, admitting he “went too far” in his contacts with Fred Michel, but Mr Cameron made clear that he remains determined to hang on to his Culture Secretary, who sat beside him on the Government front bench.

He said he believed Mr Hunt “acted fairly and impartially and in line with the advice of his permanent secretary”, adding: “I have seen no evidence to suggest that, in handling this issue, the Secretary of State acted at any stage in a way that was contrary to the ministerial code.”

He accused Labour of playing “one-sided party politics” with the issue, and repeated his denial that he had made a “grand bargain” with News Corp to allow it to take control of BSkyB in return for the support of its newspapers - something he said he would deny on oath if required to when he appears before Leveson.

But Mr Miliband claimed Mr Hunt had breached three clauses of the code and repeated Labour's demand for Mr Cameron to refer the issue to his independent adviser on ministerial conduct Sir Alex Allan.

“The Prime Minister is defending the indefensible and he knows it,” Mr Miliband said.

“The special adviser had to go to protect the Culture Secretary. The Culture Secretary has to stay to protect the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister has shown today he is incapable of doing his duty: too close to a powerful few, out of touch with everyone else.”

Mr Cameron dismissed the attack as “weak and wrong”, adding: “Endlessly questioning the integrity of someone when you don't have the evidence is bad judgment, rotten politics and plain wrong.”

Contrary to Labour claims that Mr Hunt misled the Commons when he said he had already published all his department's exchanges with News Corp, the Culture Secretary had made it clear in a written parliamentary answer last September that this did not include emails, he said.

Mr Cameron conceded that the accusation News Corp may have received market-sensitive information from Mr Hunt's department before it was officially released was “very serious”, adding: “That does need to be properly investigated.”

Defending his decision not to establish a “parallel process” to investigate the matter, Mr Cameron said: “What we have is a judge-led inquiry, witnesses required to give evidence under oath, full access to papers and records, cross-examination by barristers, all live on television.

“There is nothing this tough or this rigorous that the civil service or the independent adviser could provide.”

But he acknowledged it was not Lord Justice Leveson's role to adjudicate on the ministerial code.

“That is an issue for me and I will deal with it properly,” he said.

“I will not wait until the end of the Leveson Inquiry to take action if action is needed.

“If new evidence emerges from the Leveson Inquiry that the ministerial code has been broken, I will either seek the advice of Sir Alex Allan or take action directly.”

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Books should be for everyone, says Els, 8. Publisher Scholastic now agrees
booksAn eight-year-old saw a pirate book was ‘for boys’ and took on the publishers
Life and Style
Mary Beard received abuse after speaking positively on 'Question Time' about immigrant workers: 'When people say ridiculous, untrue and hurtful things, then I think you should call them out'
tech
Life and Style
Most mail-order brides are thought to come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania
life
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Voices
Margaret Thatcher, with her director of publicity Sir Gordon Reece, who helped her and the Tory Party to victory in 1979
voicesThe subject is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for former PR man DJ Taylor
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

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

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions