Tory MPs defeat Labour demand for Hunt BSkyB inquiry

Nick Clegg (left) abstained whilst David Cameron (right) voted against an investigation into Jeremy Hunt (centre). Photo: Reuters

MPs today voted down a Labour demand for Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt to be referred to the Prime Minister's independent adviser on ministerial standards for investigation over his handling of News Corporation's bid to buy satellite broadcaster BSkyB.

Despite Nick Clegg's decision that Liberal Democrat MPs would abstain, Conservatives easily saw off the challenge by a majority of 290 to 252.

Political Editor Tom Bradby reports:

The vote came after David Cameron told MPs that his adviser, Sir Alex Allan, had written to him to say that he could not "usefully add to the facts" in the Hunt case uncovered by the Leveson Inquiry into media standards.

But Labour dismissed Mr Cameron's comments as an ineffective "smokescreen" and said that the Prime Minister's judgment in appointing Mr Hunt to a quasi-judicial role in the BSkyB bid was in question.

Earlier, Labour MP Chris Bryant said Mr Hunt "deliberately failed to tell the whole truth to this House."

If the 57 Liberal Democrat MPs had voted with Labour, the Conservatives would have been defeated.

For that reason a number of Labour politicians took to Twitter to rue the Lib Dem abstentions:

Gmt_4426_normal

Govt majority down to 38 on #Hunt. That's fewer than the number of LibDem MPs

Philwilsonsmall1_normal

Tories 290 Labour 252. Gov majority of 38. If Lib Dems joined us Gov would have lost, but they abstained. They are Lib Dems after all.

Hanson-square_normal

Voting on jeremy hunt - labour motion defeated 252-to290 -now if 60 odd libs had voted with us ??? Saved by libs

Louise Mensch was one of 15 Conservative MPs missed the vote; she met the Queen in her Corby constituency instead:

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I think our town and county will be talking about this for years to come #CorbyPride #CorbyEN #QueenCorby

Louise Mensch was in a lineup waiting to meet the Queen in Corby whilst her Conservative colleagues were voting to back Jeremy Hunt. Credit: Twitter / @martinborley

North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson, however, was rushed back early from his honeymoon in the Maldives to vote.

Jtstfctwitter_normal

Cor blimey, bit of a frantic return from honeymoon. V happy to personally support Jeremy and grateful to a very understanding wife!