UK & World News
Focus On Jeremy Hunt After Murdoch Evidence
Jeremy Hunt is firmly in the headlights following James Murdoch's evidence to the Leveson inquiry.
One wonders what the Culture Secretary must feel about Mr Murdoch's motivations.
The email train between Mr Hunt's office and Newscorp that has proven dynamite was provided by Rupert Murdoch, who gives evidence on Wednesday.
As for James, he has made a fairly reasonable fist of trying to be supportive of the Secretary of State.
The most positive gloss that can be put on the emails is that they should be taken "with a pinch of salt," as Mr Murdoch put it.
His view that the adviser in question may have been "colouring and trying to make nice."
Even if it is true that the emails are not worthy of being considered seriously, they are remarkably unwise.
They clearly give the impression that the Culture Secretary was willing to accommodate Newscorp in a way that some outside observers would undoubtedly view as inappropriate.
Mr Hunt took on the job of examining the proposed BskyB takeover after Vince Cable had been stripped of the role in disgrace.
The aim was that he should conduct the process in a transparent manner, entirely above board and beyond reproach.
The fact that there was a considerable level of contact with Newscorp behind the scenes will surprise many Westminster observers given the evident sensitivity of the case.
The likelihood is that the Government will endeavour to avoid commenting directly to the Murdochs' evidence, and will instead wait until senior politicians have their own opportunities to give evidence.
But in Mr Hunt's case at least, he will surely be asked to provide answers to the questions that have arisen a little sooner than the Leveson process would imply.
Before the revelations about the Culture Secretary, Mr Murdoch was quizzed about the Gordon Taylor settlement which is the trickiest area of the hacking scandal for him.
Robert Jay QC put the argument - which is maintained by former editor Colin Myler and legal chief Tom Crone - that he was told evidence in the Taylor case pointed to widespread phone hacking at the News of the World.
Mr Murdoch continued to maintain he was not shown the incriminating email (now known as the "For Neville" email), or indeed of the substance and thrust of the email, which pointed to hacking by journalists other than former royal editor Clive Goodman,who had been convicted and jailed.
Under hostile and detailed questioning, Mr Murdoch remained generally unflappable and composed, and did not give an inch.
Lord Justice Leveson made very few interjections, but did ask the media chief why, in his opinion, Mr Myler and Mr Crone might have kept key information regarding hacking from him.
Mr Murdoch speculated that they knew his advice would be to "cut out the cancer"; and there was a desire not to do that.
As in previous evidence sessions at the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, there is a key division between his story on one side, and Mr Myler and Mr Crone's on the other.
Mr Murdoch spread blame quite liberally in Mr Myler and Mr Crone's direction in his testimony.
He told Lord Justice Leveson that he had been given repeated assurances that following on from the Goodman case, training and new procedures had been put in place to ensure that no similar activities could have taken place or would take place in the future.
It was notable that Mr Murdoch did not show any great affection for the now-defunct News Of The World.
He made it clear that he did not always read the paper, and when discussing its profitability, grudgingly acknowledged that it was "reasonably profitable".
One strand that links Mr Murdoch's evidence with yesterday's from Aidan Barclay of the Telegraph Media Group and Evgeny Lebedev of the Evening Standard and the Independent is how hands-off proprietors can be.
Barclay clearly astonished even Lord Justice Leveson when he told the hearing he had not been informed of the imminent publication of the MPs' expenses story.
Similarly, many media insiders might be surprised at Mr Murdoch's assertion that not only did he not know the political views of Sun editor Dominic Mohan when he appointed him, he still does not know where he stands politically.
what do you think?
david j cole
Will he be honourable enough to resign I will be suprised if he does. THE TROUBLE WITH TODAYS POLITICIANS is that they are all professional politicians first who look after number 1 and the rest of us can go to hell
" The rest of us ( in this country ) can go to hell ". If you are a foreigner, then you may board the bus, in the wind and rain on the open deck though.
Edgar, go back to your BNP meeting.
more sleaze ,excellent .Yet another skeleton falling out of scamerons closet.ha ha.
It's time to release the hounds and give them a gentle whiff of Jeremy's blood... then watch them hunt the Hunt!
Cameloon always said he wanted to bring back Hunt-ing
With Hunt's shield already resigned, now Cameron's shield Jeremy Hunt is in the firing line. Cameron should be exposed for the liar and conniver he is.