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Leveson Inquiry: Jeremy Hunt's Former Special Adviser Adam Smith And Frederic Michel To Appear

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Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt's interactions with Rupert Murdoch's media empire will come under the spotlight today when his former special adviser and a News Corporation lobbyist appear at the Leveson Inquiry.

News Corp's Frederic Michel has been called to give evidence after the inquiry published a dossier of his emails describing his frequent contacts with Mr Hunt's office over the company's attempted takeover of BSkyB.

He will be followed in the witness box by Adam Smith, who resigned as Mr Hunt's special adviser last month after admitting he "went too far" in his dealings with Mr Michel.

The row led to calls for Mr Hunt to resign as well, with Labour claiming that he acted as a cheerleader unbecoming the quasi-judicial role he had in overseeing the takeover bid.

Mr Michel has already been forced to clarify that claims in his emails that he had spoken to Mr Hunt had, in fact, meant that he had been in contact with someone in his office.

Labour's former business secretary Lord Mandelson, who has worked with Mr Michel on a think tank in the past, advised Lord Justice Leveson this week to treat the lobbyists' claims with "some scepticism".

On Friday, the top civil servant at Mr Hunt's Department of Culture, Media and Sport is also due to give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry.

Permanent secretary Jonathan Stephens was dragged into the BSkyB row when Mr Hunt repeatedly told MPs that the civil servant had "approved" the arrangements for maintaining a line of communication with News Corp.

But Mr Stephens declined to confirm that when he subsequently appeared before the Commons Public Accounts Committee.

He said in a later letter that he was "aware and content" of Mr Smith's involvement.

Also on The Huffington Post

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