Jeremy Hunt Debate and Prime Minister's Questions

Key points

  • David Cameron and Ed Miliband clashed over Jeremy Hunt at Prime Minister's Questions
  • The government made a statement on plans to give Falkland islanders a referendum
  • A Labour-led debate was held on whether Mr Hunt broke the ministerial code
  1.  
    1130:

    Hello and welcome to our coverage of an extremely busy day at Westminster. First up, the prime minister faces his questions from MPs. Then the government, in the shape of Foreign Office minister David Lidington, will give a statement on the decision to allow the people of the Falklands a referendum on their future. After that comes the main event of the day, a debate on whether Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt's conduct over the News Corp bid to take over BSkyB should be referred to the prime minister's adviser on ministerial standards.

     
  2.  
    1132:

    The Liberal Democrats are set to abstain in the vote following the Labour-led debate on Mr Hunt's future. The issue is likely to come up during PMQs too. Expect Labour leader Ed Miliband to bring it up, along with one or two disgruntled Tories. It could also make for an awkward atmosphere on the government front bench.

     
  3.  
    1134:

    Elsewhere, the troubles in the eurozone continue, with Spain being granted a bailout and the European Commission saying today that a single regulator to oversee banks across all 27 European Union states could be in place as early as 2013. That might not best please some on Mr Cameron's back benches.

     
  4.  
    1136:

    The first of the backbench MPs on the list of those selected to ask questions is Tory Zac Goldsmith. He has threatened that he will not stand again for the party if the leadership decides to change its mind and back a third runway at Heathrow.

     
  5.  
    1138:

    Another Conservative MP, Philip Hollobone, will ask whether, if the cabinet is so keen to hold meetings around the country, it intends to come to his constituency of Kettering, in Northamptonshire.

     
  6.  
    1140:

    Downing Street has been keen to clear up any suggestion of a rift between David Cameron and his deputy, and Lib Dem leader, Nick Clegg, over the Jeremy Hunt issue. A spokesman says: "It's a coalition government and they sometimes choose to vote differently."

     
  7.  
    1142:

    On BBC Two's Daily Politics, Lib Dem MP Jo Swinson says the party has not been responsible for "courting" the Murdoch press in the way that she says Labour and the Conservatives have done.

     
  8.  
    1145:

    In the Commons, there's about a quarter of an hour to go until PMQs, and it's Cabinet Office Questions. Minister Francis Maude promises to ensure that government procurement is not "antagonistic" towards small and medium-sized businesses.

     
  9.  
    1148:

    On Daily Politics Conservative deputy chairman Michael Fallon says Gordon Brown, who appeared before the Leveson Inquiry on Monday, appears to be "in denial" over the actions of his media advisers while in power.

     
  10.  
    1151:

    For Labour, shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan, says David Cameron is being brought "kicking and screaming" before the Leveson Inquiry. The PM appears tomorrow.

     
  11.  
    1154:

    The House is filling up and the volume level is rising. Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander and Defence Secretary Philip Hammond are in their seats

     
  12.  
    1156:

    David Cameron has arrived and is studying his notes intently.

     
  13.  
    1159:

    Nick Clegg is still giving evidence to the Leveson Inquiry, so he won't be at PMQs today. It is not certain whether he'll be there for the Jeremy Hunt debate.

     
  14.  
    1200:

    BBC political editor Nick Robinson says Nick Clegg is keen to avoid a split among his MPs, hence the decision for them all to abstain in the Jeremy Hunt vote.

     
  15.  
    1202:

    We are under way. Tory Zac Goldsmith asks for reassurance that there will be no rethink by the government over opposing a third runway at Heathrow.

     
  16.  
    1202:

    The PM says the coalition position on Heathrow hasn't changed, and work was on going to ensure airports operate better.

     
  17.  
    1203:

    Ed Miliband asks why Baroness Warsi was referred to the PM's adviser on ministerial interests but not Jeremy Hunt. The PM says the cases are very different.

     
  18.  
    1205:

    Mr Miliband asks if Mr Hunt, during the Leveson Inquiry, had been asked a "single question" on his conduct and the ministerial code. Mr Cameron responds that his adviser, Sir Alex Allan, has sent him a letter saying he does not believe he could "usefully add to the facts in the case".

     
  19.  
    1206:

    The Labour leader says it is Sir Alex's job to decide whether there has been a breach of the ministerial code.

     
  20.  
    1207:

    Mr Miliband asks whether the culture secretary was "not straight" with the Commons over the issue. Mr Cameron replied that it is the PM's job to make judgements over the ministerial code.

     
  21.  
    1208:

    The PM says Mr Hunt gave the Leveson Inquiry a full and frank account and followed correct procedure.

     
  22.  
    1210:

    Mr Miliband asks why Nick Clegg is not supporting the PM in this afternoon's vote on Mr Hunt's future. Mr Cameron says the issue is the relationship Tories and Labour had with the press and says that as the Lib Dems were not in the same position the Lib Dem abstention was intended to indicate that.

     
  23.  
    1211:

    Mr Miliband repeats David Cameron's 2005 words to Tony Blair, by pointing at the PM and saying: "He was the future once." Mr Cameron responds that "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery".

     
  24.  
    1212:

    Mr Cameron mocks Gordon Brown's evidence to the Leveson Inquiry, in which he said he had not instructed any briefing against senior ministers.

     
  25.  
    1214:

    The Labour leader says Mr Cameron is "clinging on" to Mr Hunt and that even Mr Clegg won't support him. The PM says the culture secretary should be allowed to get on with organising the Olympics.

     
  26.  
    1215:

    Speaker John Bercow urges Education Secretary Michael Gove to quieten down, saying that his behaviour would run the risk of exclusion if it was repeated by a pupil in a school.

     
  27.  
    1215:

    Tory MP Nigel Adams urges the government to oppose any further World Bank loans to Argentina, which is calling for sovereignty over the Falklands. Mr Cameron responds that it is good the people of the islands are holding a referendum on their future.

     
  28.  
    1217:

    Tory Richard Graham praises the memorial to Bomber Command and asks for extra money to ensure veterans and their families are properly looked after. Mr Cameron promises to look into the issue.

     
  29.  
    1218:

    Labour's Tom Blenkinson says South Tees hospitals are suffering through NHS cuts. Mr Cameron says spending on the NHS trusts in the area are increasing.

     
  30.  
    1219:

    Conservative Philip Hollobone wants to know if the cabinet will meet in his Kettering constituency. Mr Cameron says locations will be announced in due course. Mr Hollobone also asks the PM to commit to upgrading the Midlands Main Line. Mr Cameron says the government is committed to electrifying 300 miles of track.

     
  31.  
    1221:

    Plaid Cymru's Elfyn Llwyd asks why ministers have to be briefed and coached before appearing at the Leveson Inquiry. Mr Cameron says there's a huge amount of information to deal with and it takes time to refamiliarise oneself with it.

     
  32.  
    1222:

    Labour's Grahame Morris says it is scandalous that the NHS is relying on charities to purchase the latest radiotherapy technology. Mr Cameron says he will not criticise those willing to help.

     
  33.  
    1224:

    Tory Kris Hopkins asks whether the government is going ahead with High Speed 2. Mr Cameron says he believes such a course of action is correct.

     
  34.  
    1224:

    Labour's Tristram Hunt criticises the "undignified courting" of the Murdochs by Jeremy Hunt. The PM says Labour deserves the "Olympic gold medal for hypocrisy".

     
  35.  
    1228:

    Labour's Toby Perkins asks what the PM will do to turn around perceptions that the NHS was declining. Mr Cameron says he puts more weight on surveys of NHS users who rate the services they receive highly.

     
  36.  
    1228:

    Tory Steve Brine asks what is being done to deal with a shortage of primary school places. Mr Cameron says the government has put aside £1.4bn of schools capital for this year to help boost capacity, and name-checks the free school scheme.

     
  37.  
    1229:

    Labour's Alison Seabeck says benefit changes are leading to an increase in food banks in the city of Plymouth. Mr Cameron says there have been difficult decisions but tax credits and benefits for the least well-off have been protected.

     
  38.  
    1230:

    An easy question on the PM standing up for Britain in its dealings over the euro crisis. Mr Cameron replies that the government has saved £10bn.

     
  39.  
    1232:

    David Burrowes says his constituent, the computer hacker Gary McKinnon, might take his life if he was deported to the US, and urges the government to block the move. Mr Cameron says the case will be considered fully and that it is not an easy one.

     
  40.  
    1234:

    Tory James Morris says the Downing Street phone records between Gordon Brown and Rupert Murdoch should be published. The PM says it is something his predecessor should think about.

     
  41.  
    1234:

    The DUP's Mark Durkan says a drinks firm in his constituency could be damaged by EU regulations. The PM says he will arrange a meeting for the MP with a Treasury minister.

     
  42.  
    1235:

    Asked about relief for flood-hit areas of Wales, Mr Cameron promises to work towards swift help. That ends PMQs for this week.

     
  43.  
    1236:

    Now for the Falklands statement. Foreign Office minister David Lidington says the islanders have announced that a referendum on their future will happen next year and that the government backs this fully.

     
  44.  
    1237:

    Mr Lidington says the Falklanders totally rebut Argentina's claims on the islands.

     
  45.  
    1239:

    The referendum will be legal, fair and decisive, Mr Lidington tells MPs. Tomorrow is the 30th anniversary of the liberation of the Falklands, he adds, which brings a mixture of thankfulness, sorrow and anger over the invasion by Argentina.

     
  46.  
    1239:

    BBC political editor Nick Robinson tells Daily Politics that it's quite clear that it is up to the Prime Minister to decide - rather than his adviser - on breaches of ministerial code.

     
  47.  
    1240:

    In the Commons Argentina's behaviour towards the Falklands remains aggressive, the Foreign Office minister argues. Its actions are not those of a responsible power, he adds.

     
  48.  
    1241:

    BBC political editor Nick Robinson says he think there may be a U-turn on the way over a third Heathrow runway, but not before the next election.

     
  49.  
    1242:

    More details on the referendum will be announced in due course, Mr Lidington says, concluding his statement.

     
  50.  
    1243:

    For Labour, John Spellar agrees that Argentina's actions have been wrong. He adds a message of reassurance that the UK's resolve remains as strong as it was 30 years ago.

     
  51.  
    1244:

    Mr Spellar asks for reassurance that armed forces cuts will not undermine the ability to defend the Falklands.

     
  52.  
    1245:

    Those who show cavalier disregard for their international actions in one area could well do so elsewhere, Mr Spellar warns. He asks why Foreign Secretary William Hague, rather than Mr Lidington, did not deliver the statement.

     
  53.  
    1254:

    Mr Lidington says William Hague is on an overseas trip and it would have been wrong to delay the Falklands statement until he returns.

     
  54.  
    1254:

    Tory MP James Gray praises the guts of Margaret Thatcher in dealing with the Falklands while Prime Minister. Mr Lidington concurs.

     
  55.  
    1301:

    Labour's Sir Gerald Kaufman, a former shadow foreign secretary, attacks the "predatory idiots in Buenos Aires". He adds that Spain should "lay off Gibraltar".

     
  56.  
    1301:

    Mr Lidington says it is a cause for sadness that the right to self-determination is being ignored by Argentina.

     
  57.  
    1303:

    Conservative Eleanor Laing says observers from around the world should monitor the Falklands referendum to send out the message to Argentina that it is being properly conducted.

     
  58.  
    1305:

    Conservative Rory Stewart says representatives from some Commonwealth countries which are not fully supportive of the Falkland Islands' views should be allowed to observe the referendum to ensure it is regarded as legitimate.

     
  59.  
    1307:

    David Lidington says that, in the last 10 years, Argentina has moved towards a more aggressive attitude and that the UK will not "sell out" the Falklanders.

     
  60.  
    1310:

    Tory Edward Timpson reveals that he visited The Falklands on his honeymoon.

     
  61.  
    1312:

    Labour's Madeleine Moon praises the Falklanders for continuing to host many veterans of the war and treating them "in an amazing way".

     
  62.  
    1314:

    Mr Lidington says the UN's right to self-determination applies in the Falklands as much as anywhere else.

     
  63.  
    1315:

    Speaker John Bercow says the discussion of the statement on the Falklands must end soon.

     
  64.  
    1316:

    Tory MP Penny Mordaunt says many of Argentina's neighbours are becoming embarrassed over its actions over the Falklands.

     
  65.  
    1318:

    Conservative MP Bob Stewart says strong, effective armed forces are kept on the Falklands to deter Argentina. Mr Lidington says he has "hit the nail on the head". Now it is time for the Jeremy Hunt debate.

     
  66.  
    1319:

    Labour's deputy leader Harriet Harman opens the debate, saying it is not Lord Leveson's job to adjudicate on the ministerial code.

     
  67.  
    1322:

    Ms Harman says today's correspondence between David Cameron and his adviser on ministerial interests Sir Alex Allan changes nothing and "due process" should still be followed.

     
  68.  
    1322:

    Ms Harman says the PM cannot make decision on the Hunt issue without advice from Sir Alex.

     
  69.  
    1325:

    Amid growing noise in the Chamber, Commons Speaker John Bercow gives education secretary Michael Gove a ticking off, saying he should "stay silent and listen". He was also told to be quiet during PMQs.

     
  70.  
    1326:

    Ms Harman is now moving on to the main thrust of her argument. She says ministers are required to be "accurate and truthful" in their statements to Parliament.

     
  71.  
    1327:

    Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg intervenes to say that there is "no evidence" that the culture secretary knowingly misled Parliament.

     
  72.  
    1329:

    But Ms Harman insists there is "prima facie evidence" that Mr Hunt failed to give accurate and truthful information to Parliament.

     
  73.  
    1331:

    Ms Harman says Mr Hunt told MPs in March 2011 that he had published all relevant information relating to his dealings with News Corp over the BSkyB bid - but she suggests information published a year later by the Leveson Inquiry proved this to be wrong.

     
  74.  
    1332:

    Commons Speaker John Bercow admonishes another Conservative MP - this time Broxtowe's Anna Soubry.

     
  75.  
    1335:

    Ms Harman brings up a memo that Mr Hunt sent to David Cameron before he took over responsibility for the BSkyB deal, in which he appeared to be supportive of the bid. "That was an intervention in anyone's book," she says.

     
  76.  
    1337:

    Ms Harman says Mr Hunt "failed to take responsibility" for his special adviser's conduct. She contrasts the PM's decision to refer Baroness Warsi to his adviser on the ministerial code with his refusal to do so in Mr Hunt's case.

     
  77.  
    1338:

    Ms Harman wraps up by saying there have been "clear" breaches of the ministerial code which must be looked into. As she stands down, Tory MPs shout: "Is that all?"

     
  78.  
    1338:

    Mr Hunt begins his response by saying claims that he deliberately misled Parliament are a "disgraceful allegation".

     
  79.  
    1340:

    Mr Hunt says he provided more information to Parliament about his role in the BSkyB bid than any other minister in a similar situation.

     
  80.  
    1341:

    As the decibel levels rise, Labour MP Chris Bryant says Mr Hunt "has lied to Parliament".

     
  81.  
    1341:

    Speaker John Bercow tries to bring order to proceedings but Commons leader Sir George Young says Mr Bryant's comments were "unparliamentary" and should be withdrawn.

     
  82.  
    1342:

    But, referring to Mr Bryant's comments, the Speaker suggests that "nothing disorderly has occurred".

     
  83.  
    1343:

    Temperatures are rising now and Tory backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg accuses Labour of being "sanctimonious humbugs".

     
  84.  
    1344:

    Mr Hunt says there is a huge difference between accusing someone of "inadvertently misleading" Parliament and "deliberately lying". But Mr Bryant intervenes again to say he has a "great deal of evidence" suggesting the latter.

     
  85.  
    Nick Robinson

    tweets: Speaker rules that @ChrisBryantMP can accuse Hunt of being a "liar" - usually unparliamentary ie leads MP to be expelled

     
  86.  
    1346:

    Mr Hunt defends the memo he sent to the prime minister about the Sky bid in late 2010, saying he was not trying to influence the bid. He quotes David Cameron's earlier support for him at PMQs.

     
  87.  
    1349:

    The culture secretary moves on to the conduct of his special adviser Adam Smith. He says he acted "inappropriately" in his contacts with News Corp lobbyists and had resigned. Lessons will be learnt from what happened, he adds.

     
  88.  
    1351:

    An intervention from former Labour minister John Denham. He says it is "inconceivable" that Mr Hunt could not have known about the extent and tone of contacts between Mr Smith and News Corp advisers.

     
  89.  
    1353:

    Mr Hunt says his special adviser has "paid a heavy price" for his mistakes. But the culture secretary insists nothing Mr Smith did "materially affected" the impartiality with which he took important decisions.

     
  90.  
    1355:

    The culture secretary says his department deserves "enormous credit" for the way it handled the bid, which he insists was fair and scrupulous. He points out that he took independent advice at every turn and referred the bid to the Competition Commission.

     
  91.  
    1356:

    Mr Hunt says Labour called for his resignation just 23 minutes after details of e-mail contacts between his special adviser and News Corp emerged, describing this as "brazen opportunism".

     
  92.  
    1357:

    Mr Hunt winds up his speech by launching a fierce attack on Labour and Ms Harman, suggesting their conduct has been no better than many of the newspapers they have criticised. He says he is accountable to Parliament and will defend his actions at every opportunity.

     
  93.  
    1400:

    Backbenchers are now getting their chance to have their say. Labour MP Ian Lucas is first up. He suggests Mr Hunt was not impartial and let down his staff.

     
  94.  
    1401:

    Mr Lucas suggests the reason that a special adviser rather than a civil servant was given the job of being a point of contact with News Corp was because Mr Hunt had "an agenda to get the bid through".

     
  95.  
    1401:

    On the same issue of why Adam Smith was given the job of liasing with News Corp, Labour MP Kevin Brennan says it was "unthinkable" that this would have happened unless there were "political motives" involved.

     
  96.  
    1402:

    Labour MP Chris Bryant tweets: To be clear, this debate is about whether Hunt lied to parliament. Rules say you can accuse someone of lying if named in the motion

     
  97.  
    1405:

    The independent adviser Sir Alex Allan is now coming in for criticism. Mr Lucas suggests Sir Alex has been "used as a shield" by David Cameron.

     
  98.  
    1408:

    And Labour MP Paul Flynn goes further, suggesting that Sir Alex has proved that he is a "poodle and not the rottweiler" that is needed to police the ministerial code.

     
  99.  
    1409:

    John Whittingdale, the influential Conservative chairman of the culture committee, is now speaking. He says it would be "utterly extraordinary" if Mr Hunt had not had a view on the merits of News Corp's bid for BSkyB.

     
  100.  
    1412:

    Mr Whittingdale says any minister taking over responsibility for the bid would have found themselves in a "difficult position". But he believes the culture secretary "put aside" his views and judged it "clearly and solely on the advice he received".

     
  101.  
    1412:

    The split in the coalition on the issue rears its head again. Mr Whittingdale says he would be "disappointed" if Lib Dem MPs do not give Mr Hunt their backing and suggests it is not too late for them to change their minds.

     
  102.  
    1412:

    Mr Whittingdale blames the last Labour government for giving special advisers more "influence and power", saying this was not the case when he was a minister.

     
  103.  
    1414:

    Interesting point from Mr Whittingdale. He says it is worth considering whether the adviser on ministerial interests should have the power to launch his own investigations rather than being asked to do so by the prime minister.

     
  104.  
    1418:

    Labour MP Paul Flynn is now speaking. He suggests the ministerial code has been "degraded" by the government and prime minister.

     
  105.  
    1422:

    Mr Flynn suggests that the last adviser on ministerial interests, Sir Philip Mawer, resigned partly because he had not been asked to look into allegations against former defence secretary Liam Fox last year.

     
  106.  
    1425:

    Tory MP Stewart Jackson suggests the debate is rife with the "noxious stink of hypocrisy". He describes Adam Smith's actions as an "honest lapse of judgment" and says they cannot be compared with the behaviour of former Labour advisers such as Damian McBride.

     
  107.  
    1426:

    Labour MP Alex Cunningham tweets: Jeremy Hunt not much interested in the case against him. Just sitting there sending messages.

     
  108.  
    1428:

    Paul Flynn takes another swipe at Sir Alex Allan, saying a parliamentary committee recently concluded he was "not fit" to do the job of an independent investigator. He compares him unfavourably to a previous incumbent, Elizabeth Filkin.

     
  109.  
    1430:

    Don Foster is the first Lib Dem to speak in the debate. He starts by saying there are some questions that still need to be "thoroughly investigated" - echoing Nick Clegg's view.

     
  110.  
    1433:

    Despite this, Mr Foster praises Mr Hunt's handling of the bid once he assumed responsibility for it, saying he acted "absolutely by the book".

     
  111.  
    1436:

    Mr Foster suggests the reason the Lib Dems are not supporting Mr Hunt is not because of his actions but because Mr Cameron ignored Nick Clegg's advice about the matter and did not consult him directly on whether to refer the matter to his independent adviser.

     
  112.  
    1440:

    The Lib Dems will continue to support the coalition and its core objectives despite their difference of opinion with the Conservatives over this issue, Mr Foster adds.

     
  113.  
    1441:

    The Lib Dem culture spokesman ends his remarks by attacking Labour and accusing them of a "political ruse" and hypocrisy over the actions of special advisers when they were in government.

     
  114.  
    1441:

    The BBC's Carolyn Quinn tweets: Eleanor Laing, Con MP, angrily blames Vince Cable's behaviour when in charge of the BSkyB bid for placing J Hunt in difficult position

     
  115.  
    1441:

    Labour's Chris Bryant is now speaking. He caused something of a uproar earlier when he said he had "prima facie" evidence that Mr Hunt had lied to Parliament. Let's see what he is basing that claim on.

     
  116.  
    1449:

    Mr Bryant suggests Mr Hunt's special adviser gave "privileged information" to News Corp lobbyist Frederic Michel about an announcement he was due to make to Parliament. This was market sensitive information, he adds, and financial regulators may still want to look into the disclosure.

     
  117.  
    1449:

    Mr Bryant picks up on a theme pursued earlier by Harriet Harman - whether Mr Hunt gave a full account of his contacts with News Corp in a statement to Parliament in March 2011.

     
  118.  

    Professor of Parliamentary Government Philip Cowley tweets: Don't understand criticism of the Lib Dem position today. What choice did they have?

     
  119.  

    The BBC's Norman Smith tweets‏: Chris Bryant says Financial Services Authority may want to investigate Hunt over providing info to BSKYB ahead of markets

     
  120.  
    1451:

    Mr Hunt had "unminuted contact" with News Corp after he assumed responsibility for the bid in December 2010, Mr Bryant suggests. He accuses the minister of "colluding with" the company and of "deliberate obfuscations and lies".

     
  121.  
    1452:

    Tory MP Bernard Jenkin is now addressing MPs. He is one of the few Conservatives who has argued that the No 10 adviser on ministerial interests should be brought in to look at the matter.

     
  122.  
    1455:

    Mr Jenkin says the adviser on ministerial interests cannot be truly independent if he has to wait for the prime minister to pass him cases to investigate.

     
  123.  
    1503:

    Former Labour cabinet minister John Denham is speaking now, criticising the prime minister's decision to refer Baroness Warsi to Sir Alex Allan but not to refer Jeremy Hunt.

     
  124.  
    1505:

    Mr Denham says the prime minister and Jeremy Hunt deliberately kept Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell in the dark about Mr Hunt's memo to the prime minister in November 2011.

     
  125.  
    1508:

    Mr Denham says Mr Hunt should have known that it was inappropriate to propose a meeting of the prime minister, Business Secretary Vince Cable and himself to discuss the BSkyB bid.

     
  126.  
    1514:

    Tory MP Therese Coffey says she believes Mr Hunt did "exactly the right thing" after being given responsibility for the BSkyB bid and there is no evidence to suggest he did otherwise.

     
  127.  
    1517:

    Ms Coffey calls it a "shameful motion" and says Labour should be focusing on the issues that matter, like the economy.

     
  128.  
    1522:

    Speaking now, former sport minister Gerry Sutcliffe says he cannot believe Hunt's special adviser, Adam Smith, was given so much power and asks why he was made the main point of contact for News Corp.

     
  129.  
    1525:

    Conservative MP Damian Collins says, while it is important to have the current debate, nothing new has been heard that hasn't been covered many times before.

     
  130.  
    1527:

    Mr Collins says the significance of Mr Hunt's memo to the prime minister has been "blown out of all proportion".

     
  131.  
    1532:

    Labour's Jim Sheridan says he disapproved of Tony Blair's "courting" of News International and raised his concerns with him many years ago.

     
  132.  
    1536:

    Mr Sheridan, a member of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, says Mr Hunt is a "toxic" secretary of state with "no credibility and no integrity". He should do the honourable thing and resign, Mr Sheridan adds.

     
  133.  
    1543:

    Conservative MP Alun Cairns criticises Harriet Harman's call for Mr Hunt to resign, saying even if the case was referred to Sir Alex Allan Labour would not be happy because it wouldn't have given the party the outcome it wanted.

     
  134.  
    1546:

    Mr Cairns says Mr Hunt has demonstrated "the highest integrity" and sought independent advice at each and every stage, which sometimes went against the interests of the Murdochs.

     
  135.  
    1551:

    Shadow leader of the House Angela Eagle is summing up the debate for Labour. She says her party was forced to call this debate because of the failure of the prime minister to follow the process set out in the ministerial code. She says she has read through it and "can't find the clause that says this code applies to all members of the government except the prime minister's chums".

     
  136.  
    1553:

    Ms Eagle encourages Liberal Democrat MPs to join Labour MPs in the lobby to vote for an investigation, not just abstain.

     
  137.  
    1556:

    Ms Eagle says it is "crystal clear" that Mr Hunt's former special adviser opened up an improper back channel of communication with News Corp.

     
  138.  
    1600:

    Leader of the House Sir George Young is up now to sum up for the government. He says it has been "a miserable, opportunistic debate".

     
  139.  
    1608:

    There's barracking from the Labour benches as Sir George Young criticises Harriet Harman's decision to call for Mr Hunt's resignation so quickly after James Murdoch's evidence to the Leveson inquiry.

     
  140.  
    1610:

    More shouting as Chris Bryant repeats his accusation that Mr Hunt deliberately misled the Commons. Conservative MPs call for him to withdraw the claim.

     
  141.  
    1614:

    The debate is over and its time to vote. MPs are drifting out into the lobbies but even if all Lib Dem MPs abstain the Conservatives should still be able to defeat the motion if all their MPs vote together.

     
  142.  
    1616:

    The BBC's Norman Smith tweets: PM will vote in Hunt debate

     
  143.  
    1622:

    News just in from Downing Street. The PM's spokeswoman, when asked about the Speaker's decision to allow Chris Bryant to call Jeremy Hunt a liar, says: "It is up to the Speaker what he judges to be a point of order."

     
  144.  
    1623: Carole Walker Political correspondent, BBC News

    tweets: Just seen PM swiftly off the blocks to vote in favour of his own judgement on Hunt.

     
  145.  
    1627:

    Labour loses the Commons vote on its Jeremy Hunt motion by 290 votes to 252.

     
  146.  
    1635:

    That means the Conservatives managed to muster a majority of 38 - more than expected - so it looks like they had support from some non-Conservative MPs.

     
  147.  

    So Labour lost the vote, as expected, after what was a noisy, and at times ill-tempered debate, especially when Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt was forced to reject Chris Bryant's claim he was a liar. The vote's unlikely to be the end of the story though, with the Prime Minister David Cameron giving evidence to the Leveson Inquiry tomorrow. Thanks for joining us today - and don't forget that you can follow all the latest developments in our main news story here.

     

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.