UK & World News
Tories Win Vote Against Hunt Investigation
A Labour motion calling for the Culture Secretary to be referred to the independent adviser on ministerial standards has been defeated.
MPs voted 290-252 against an investigation into the way Jeremy Hunt handled the BSkyB bid, giving the Government a majority of 38.
It followed a Commons debate in which MPs questioned whether Mr Hunt should be investigated for allegedly breaching the ministerial code in his handling of News Corp's attempt to take full control of BSkyB.
Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg called on his MPs to abstain from the vote, although he does want David Cameron to launch an investigation into the Culture Secretary's conduct.
The Deputy Prime Minister has repeatedly told Mr Cameron the case should be looked at by Sir Alex Allan, the independent adviser on ministerial interests.
Despite this, he gave his strongest backing yet for Mr Hunt during his appearance at the Leveson Inquiry, saying he believed he had given a "full, good and convincing account" of his involvement in the bidding process.
Mr Cameron also backed Mr Hunt during Prime Minister's Questions, telling the House Sir Alex had told him in a letter the adviser felt he could not "usefully add" to the case.
But the opposition motion called for Sir Alex to consider whether Mr Hunt misled Parliament and failed to take responsibility for his special adviser Adam Smith.
Mr Smith resigned after admitting his contacts with News Corporation had been too close.
Deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman told MPs during the debate: "There is prima facie evidence that the Secretary of State failed to give accurate and truthful information to the House.
"At the very least, there is prima facie evidence that the Secretary of State failed to take responsibility for the management and conduct of his special adviser.
"I strongly urge honourable members from all sides of the House to reflect on this, to support the rights of the House, to reinforce the importance of the ministerial code and vote in support of this motion."
But Mr Hunt defended himself, saying: "I have taken more trouble and published more information than probably any other government has published in any previous bids. I made huge efforts to be transparent."
He added: "I wish to draw the House's attention to the very important distinction between inadvertently misleading this House and lying.
"Lying is something that implies deliberate intent... I have spent six weeks being accountable for my actions and being proved right."
The Lib Dem decision to abstain was said to have received "unanimous support" at a meeting of the parliamentary party on Tuesday night.
It was the second time they have abstained in mass from a Commons vote while in government - the first related to Mr Cameron's use of a veto at an EU summit.
Lib Dem spokesman Don Foster told Sky News: "Nick Clegg is very firmly of the view that other questions, particularly in relation to the ministerial code, still remain and these should have been appropriately investigated.
"[That's] why he has not supported the Prime Minister on this occasion."
Mr Clegg is reported to have discussed the matter with Mr Cameron on a number of occasions in recent weeks, and to have told him the Culture Secretary should be subject to a probe.
Evidence of the coalition split will intensify pressure on the Prime Minister to call in Sir Alex for an independent assessment of whether the ministerial code has been breached.
He is facing accusations of double standards after calling an investigation into Tory chairman Baroness Warsi, who has admitted failing to declare business links with a relative who accompanied her on an official trip to Pakistan.
what do you think?
another cameron cover up.totally corrupt
Well as far as I am concerned all politicians are corrupt. Does not matter what party they belong to they are all the same.
so nick is trying to prove he has a pair lol to little to late ime afraid .he,s nothing but a lickspittle puppet .no way to go turncoat. your numbers up
Great news, lets hope it's the beginning of the end
Why do the politicians spent so much time and effort on things that are not helping the UK out of it's current economic situation? MPs how are you going to create an environment conducive to business expansion in the UK? How are you going to pay back the UK debts without killing the UK? When are you going to start to work together for the good of the UK electorate, who put you in your privelidged positions? Less words, more action please!
You are right, but they find these soft issues so much easier and so much more to their taste. Talk about fiddling while Rome burns!
So even though Hunt texted James Murdoch "congratulations on the bid success" hours before the decision was made *cough,cough* he has done nothing wrong. Strong bond that old school tie.
Hunt's behaviour is awful, but even worse is his arrogance and presumption that he is beyond reach.
The ministerial code states in black and white that ministers are responsible for the actions of their special advisors so how can camermoron even attempt to brush this under the carpet ?? Hunt IS responsible and DOES need to accept responsibility. If there is nothing to hide why would the special advisor's resignation have been so readily accepted ? Scapegoat springs to mind, but if the advisor admits he crossed the line which is why he was asked to resign ultimately that makes Hunt responsible which makes Camermoron responsible. Another fine example of the good lads club trying to look after each. Fair play to Clegg for growing a pair but maybe its a little to late.
one rule for one and another for the cons... yet again, when are we going to wake up.. clegg has put his libdems back a few decades..
about time the condems did what the public want, to put the economy to rights by building houses which gives work to the jobless ,money in their pockets to pay tax and to spend thus helping other business's. the politicians need to get into the real world.. do they know how many hours it takes for someone on a minimum wage to work to pay to take his children to a cinema .. it cost twenty eight pounds on monday afternoon for two adults and one child... how can they justify that..
Building houses involves the use of either cash or debt and we have too little of the former and too much of the latter. If you'd have said making or producing something and flogging it to the rest of the world, then you'd be making more sense.
Annette is right. And, of course, we DO have the money. There's billions of our tax payers' money sloshing around in the banks we bailed out but they refuse to invest it for growth. Not only that, there's £750bn in the accounts of all the big corporations - the same people Osbourne has slashed their personal and business taxes. Add to that the £125bn PER YEAR Osbourne rich backers avoid in tax through loopholes, we could slash the deficit overnight, no need for cuts and really put this country back on its feet. All it needs is the political will to do it but NONE of the main parties will do that because they are three wings of the same capitalist party propping up a failed capitalist system with OUR money.
gengisken after ww2 we had no money . but we built houses /NHS/
Clegg, you leave the Coalition and then we will have a new General Election
Unfirtunately, Labour would be put back in to finish what they started and UK plc would be a dead duck.
This is yet another example of Cameron's terrible judgement and inability to act decisively. It is also an example of Clegg's double standards as he really should let his MPs vote against rather than simply abstain, but, of course, that could mean a general election and the end of the LibDems for the foreseeable future.
Here they are, Cameron and Clegg, the push-me, pull you of British politics. The coalition is creaking as loud as ever. The LibDems are on the brink of losing all support while the Tories will be flailing about as their rightwing will help tear the party apart. Standby for defections to UKIP - retirement home for Tory backwoodsmen. This government is so weak and unstable and only need a nudge to topple it, but what do weak wristed Labour do? Table endless, toothless motions in parliament treating politics like a jolly game of cricket. They should be backing the trade unions in a massive campaign of general strikes. It would all be over within a week. As it stands, our unions will have to set the Labour Party adrift and form our own socialist party and 'do it ourselves'.
Not so keen on opening a discussion on why little nicky wanted to lead us into euro doom though, is he.
So the economy and Euro are OK now? must be if these idiots are finding time to play party politics. There isn't a good one amongst them. Hopefully, Cameron will grow a pair, disolve the agreement, call an election ushering in UKIP. Lets be honest, all 3 main parties are as useless as each other so UKIP may be the "breath of fresh air" this country needs.
smells of a cover up - if he's done nothing wrong then investigation wont hurt
Cameron has won this little battle, but at more cost to his already demolished credibility as a Party leader and Prime Minister. My God, look at what we have leading us! Cameron, Clegg and Miliband. It's frightening. Is this really the best we can put up? Because if it is, we are in big trouble.
You are right, Brian, and I think that we are in very big trouble!
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Hold on! First Clegg demands an investigation, then he threatens that LibDem MPs will abstain, and then he supports Hunt in the debate! Does this silly man know what he is doing? Can he hold to his line of argument? I thought Cameron was bad. I am a Tory but I take no satisfaction from this 'victory'.
so with written evidence,clear abuse of rules and status, westminister has shown the nation the that honour, service to ones country, belongs to the service,police,nursing, (all of which are losing jobs or sold to the private sector). their arrogance is appalling,