The "shadow of sleaze" now hangs over the government in the wake of fresh revelations about its links to News Corporation, Ed Miliband has told MPs.
In angry exchanges at Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday the Labour leader told David Cameron that it was "time to stop putting his cronies before the interest of the country".
Miliband tackled the prime minister in the Commons moments after Jeremy Hunt's special adviser quit his post over allegations he had aided News Corp in its bid to take control of BSkyB in 2010.
"It beggars belief that the prime minister can defend the culture secretary, he wasn't judging this bid, he was helping the bid by News Corporation," Miliband told the Commons.
"He [Hunt] and his office were providing a constant flow of confidential information to News Corporation about statements to be made in this House in advance, his private discussions with regulators and his discussions with opposing parties."
David Cameron said he was not going to "pre-judge" the outcome of the Leveson inquiry but insisted Hunt had his "full support for the excellent job that he does".
"In judging this important bid the culture secretary sought independent advice from independent regulators at every stage, although he did not need to," he said.
However the prime minister admitted that "we all did too much cosying up to Rupert Murdoch".
Miliband also attacked the coalition for its handling of the economy following news the UK had slipped back into recession.
"Today we had the catastrophic news that Britain is back in recession, I am sure the PM has spent the last 24 hours of thinking of an excuse as to why tis nothing to do with him," he said.
"This is recession made by him and the chancellor in Downing Street."
Cameron said he would not deviate from his plan to cut the deficit and public spending.
"There is not a single business organisation or serous commentator or international body who thinks these problems emerged in the last 24-months," he said.