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Simon Carr

The Sketch: Voyeuristic thrills as News Corp has its evil way with Hunt


A hundred and sixty three pages of emails between your private office and News Corp written during the most sensitive stages of a takeover... and volunteered to the tribunal without a struggle. What a betrayal of such tender intimacy. For Jeremy Hunt, it must have been like having his sex-tape released on the internet.

The minister had seemed such a respectable young man and here he was, upside down and inside out as News Corp had its rough and complicated way with him. "Oh Mummy, it was horrible."

The day began so blandly, with James Murdoch so thoroughly disengaged that the pornographic thrill took time to come through.

Murdoch was talking about his "straight bat" (it seems to be some sort of porn-set term). He said piously, "That's not the way I do business"; he denied that Mr Hunt was "an ally" of his company; he mocked the idea that he would ever try and influence the outcome of an election.

He made that sound really quite low. No, all he had was general conversations with ministers – to offer contextual data to enable a more fully informational decision-making apparatus to evolve.

And then the emails arrived and everything went the other way. The quasi-judicial Hunt was up to the apricots in News Corp.

Their PR man wrote Hunt was "keen for me to work with him on the statement... and offer possible language". Wasn't the then-shadow Culture Secretary Ivan Lewis's joke that the statement was released at the last minute only because Murdoch hadn't finished writing it?

Labour points of order yesterday called for Hunt's resignation. Maybe they should all resign as well, retrospectively.