1. ITV Report

Leveson Inquiry: Jeremy Hunt 'sympathetic' to BSkyB bid

The Culture Secretary has been defending the way he handled News Corporation's takeover bid of BSkyB at the Leveson Inquiry.

Jeremy Hunt arriving at the Leveson Inquiry Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Jeremy Hunt said he was "sympathetic" to the bid, but stopped short of saying he was supportive of it.

Mr Hunt said:

I don't think I knew about the [BSkyB] bid until getting a call from Murdoch on the day it was announced... I can't be completely certain that at no stage it was ever was it mentioned to me... I would have thought they would have had lots of different aspirations and commercial ambitions.

He also described a meeting with Former News International Chief Executive Rebekah Brooks and News Corp lobbyist Fred Michel in 2010. Hunt's adviser Adam Smith was also present.

Mr Hunt says Brooks and Michel expressed some concern that they were were not getting a sympathetic hearing from Vince Cable [Business Secretary] about the BSkyB bid, but not much more than that.

News Corp lobbyist Fred Michel Credit: PA Wire

The Culture Secretary said that, in hindsight, it would have been better to have officials present and taking notes at all times during meetings.

Mr Hunt was also asked why he felt it was inappropriate to meet with James Murdoch but appropriate to have phone call with him. He said he couldn't meet face-to face because it encroached on another Secretary of State's [Vince Cable] territory.

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