Jeremy Hunt To Face Leveson Grilling After Letter To Cameron On BSkyB Leaked

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CAMERON HUNT NEWS CORP SPLASH
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Jeremy Hunt will give evidence on how he handled News Coporation's wish to take over BSkyB when he appears before the Leveson inquiry on Thursday.

The culture secretary faces renewed calls to resign from Labour after it was revealed that he lobbied the prime minister to support the Murdoch bid before being accepting the role as a supposedly impartial adjudicator of the decision.

Hunt has also been accused of misleading parliament after he told MPs he had no informal contact with News Corp while he was taking the decision only for evidence to come to light that suggested otherwise.

David Cameron has defended giving Hunt responsibility for the decision on News Corporation's takeover of BSkyB.

Hunt sent a memo to the prime minister arguing the case for the bid just weeks before being given the role but Mr Cameron insisted he acted "impartially" once he was responsible for the decision.

Cameron said: "I don't regret giving the job to Jeremy Hunt, it was the right thing to do in the circumstances, which were not of my making."

The prime minster told ITV's This Morning: "The crucial point, the really crucial point, is did Jeremy Hunt carry out his role properly with respect to BSkyB and I believe that he did."

Hunt will be joined next week at the inquiry by several of his cabinet colleagues.

On Tuesday education secretary, and former News Corp owned Times journalist Michael Gove will give evidence. He will be followed by home secretary Theresa May.

While on Wednesday Leveson will hear from business secretary Vince Cable. The Lib Dem minister initially had responsibility for overseeing the BSkyB bid but was stripped of the job after he was secretly filmed expressing fierce opposition to News Corporation.

David Cameron decided that as Cable was not a neutral arbiter of the bid he could not take the decision and handed it to Hunt - despite knowing he had expressed support for Murdoch.

Leveson will also hear from justice secretary Ken Clarke on Wednesday. On Thursday the inquiry heard that Clarke found some of his ministerial work "trying" and may not stay in front line politics for much longer.

On Monday the inquiry will take evidence from former Labour prime minister Tony Blair. He is likely to be quizzed over whether he was too close to Rupert Murdoch and News International during his time in office.

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