The Prime Minister will have breathed a sigh of relief yesterday when the House of Commons voted down calls for an inquiry into the conduct of Jeremy Hunt. So, too, will the Culture Secretary himself. After all, the passable majority of 38 does finally lay to rest the issue of Mr Hunt's handling of News Corp's bid for BSkyB, and of the information passed to the House about it.
Formally concluded or not, however, the whole sordid matter will not be so easily forgotten. David Cameron's dogged blocking of an independent inquiry – despite the fact that a member of Mr Hunt's staff was acknowledged to have acted "inappropriately" – leaves a question mark over the Prime Minister's integrity that a heavily whipped Commons vote cannot erase. Given such widespread Liberal Democrat disapproval, it has also put untold strain on the already-creaking Coalition. Mr Cameron has saved his Culture Secretary. But at what price?
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