UK & World News
Embattled Minister Faces Donations Probe
Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt is under renewed pressure and facing a probe after claims he failed to declare thousands of pounds worth of donations from private firms.
He attended three events before the 2010 general election - when he was shadow secretary of state for culture, media and sport.
These were funded by companies including advertising giant M&C Saatchi and were also attended by Ed Vaizey, who is now Mr Hunt's deputy as Minster for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries.
However, although the details were declared by Mr Vaizey with the Commons register of interests - they were not lodged by Mr Hunt.
Labour MP Steve McCabe has called for an investigation by parliamentary standards commissioner John Lyon.
It comes just days after calls for an inquiry and demands Mr Hunt tender his resignation over allegations that he broke the ministerial code in his dealings with News Corp in the BSKYB takeover bid.
Mr Vaizey stated in his register entry that he and Mr Hunt were both at eight separate events sponsored by private companies between July 2009 and March 2010.
The functions were to "enable the Conservative frontbench team (Ed Vaizey and Jeremy Hunt) to meet sector leaders from the arts and creative industries".
They included one hosted by BSkyB on October 7, 2009, which cost £3,800.
Aides to the Culture Secretary have disputed the suggestion that both men attended eight events.
Mr Hunt is planning to amend his register entry to show that he took a donation worth £1,473.81 from advertising agency DDB UK in 2009, another worth £1,435 from the Groucho Club, and a third from M&C Saatchi worth £4,563.50. The total value was £7472.31.
Mr McCabe told the Daily Mail: "No one would be asking these questions if Ed Vaizey hadn't made that declaration himself. These are areas where there is a potential conflict of interest.
"Since there is clearly confusion in their own minds about who went to which events, this is just the sort of thing where the Commissioner should seek to establish the facts."