Jeremy Hunt: 10 questions culture secretary faces over BSkyB
- 25 April 2012
- From the section UK Politics
The key questions Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt is facing about his handling of News Corp's bid for BSkyB, following the release of emails at the Leveson Inquiry.
1. The Ministerial Code says: "The responsibility for the management and conduct of special advisers, including discipline, rests with the minister who made the appointment." You told the Commons you knew your former Special Adviser Adam Smith was authorised to talk to News Corp, but you didn't know the content or the volume of those messages. Why not?
2. Why was Adam Smith specifically, as a political appointee, asked to be the "point man" between your department and BSkyB?
3. Precisely what role did you have in ensuring Mr Smith was given that role as the "point man"? Did you specifically request it?
4. You told the Commons you manage your staff "very closely". Did you brief Mr Smith about how he should conduct his exchanges with News Corp?
5. What training and guidance was Mr Smith given, by you or by civil servants, so he was in a position where he could handle communications with News Corp properly? Was the detail on precisely what your quasi-judicial role was spelt out to him? If not, why not?
6. Given you were on the record in your broad support for the Murdochs prior to assuming quasi-judicial responsibility for their proposed take over of BSkyB, would it not have been wiser to ask a civil servant to be the "point man" with News Corp rather than your own special adviser?
7. Do you accept that Mr Smith's actions - even if you weren't aware of them - tarnish your claim that you were conducting this process "scrupulously fairly"?
8. Did you threaten to sack Mr Smith if he didn't resign? Was sacking Mr Smith a condition of you retaining the prime minister's confidence?
9. Do you retain the confidence of your department's most senior civil servant, the Permanent Secretary? When did you last speak to them?
10. Did you mislead Parliament? On 3rd March 2011, you told the Commons you were publishing "all the documents relating to all the meetings, all the consultation documents, all the submissions we received, all the exchanges between my Department and News Corporation." But you didn't, did you?